The government had deployed police to prevent Karuna loyalists from infiltrating a leading private hospital in Colombo, where three female LTTE cadres, including Kuveni, their Ampara-Batticaloa women?s political wing chief, wounded in an ambush off Akkaraipattu, had been warded.
`We aren?t taking chances,` a security official said, adding they were the first Vanni faction cadres airlifted to Colombo after being wounded in an ambush in the east.
A Karuna loyalist riding motorbike had fired an assault rifle at a three wheeler carrying them in the LTTE-held area last Monday.
The Airforce deployed a Chinese-built Y 12 to airlift them to Ratmalana from Ampara after which they were taken overland to the Indian-owned Apollo hospital. A US-built Bell 212 brought the remaining cadre on Wednesday, a military official said. The helicopter carrying the LTTE cadre had landed on the roof-top of the hospital believed to be the only medical facility with a roof-top helipad.
Karuna loyalists are believed to be active in Colombo and its suburbs.
Security officials pointed out that the LTTE had targeted opponents warded at hospitals. A UNP candidate at the last parliamentary elections was one of the most prominent people killed at a hospital. The LTTE killed him at the Batticaloa hospital.
Meanwhile, the military and the Special Task Force (STF) dismissed claims that the person responsible for the Akkaraipattu attack had been arrested. `We didn?t arrest him,` a senior policeman said, adding that Johnson Jeyakanthan of Periya Kallar, Kalavanchikudi had reached the STF as the LTTE was gunning for him. He had surrendered to the STF deployed at the Pathimapura tsunami welfare centre on Tuesday (1). He had told the STF that the LTTE had accused him of being the gunman responsible for the attack on the three wheeler carrying Kuveni and her colleagues.
Jeyakanthan had claimed that he quit the organization in 1997. He had been abroad for over a year and had returned on February 22.