The LTTE yesterday warned it would be forced to wipe out the Karuna faction militarily in the east if the government failed to live upto its pledge to disarm the group.
LTTE Batticaloa political head Daya Mohan told the Daily Mirror the attack on the breakaway LTTE faction in the Welikanda area on Saturday night was only the beginning of what would be in store during the next few weeks.
At least 18 cadres belonging to the Karuna faction were killed in the ambush while several others were injured and admitted to the Polonnaruwa hospital for treatment. The LTTE claimed to have seized a large haul of weapons and communications equipment following the assault. Mr. Mohan complained that the government had yet to fulfil the pledge given at the talks in Geneva to disarm all armed groups, including the Karuna faction, operating in government-controlled areas. As a result the LTTE might be forced to take matters into its own hands, he warned.
?We have waited patiently since the government promised in Geneva to disarm the Karuna group. Now we will carry out an operation to disarm the group on our own. Saturday night was only the beginning. If the government won`t do it we will,? he declared.
The rebel leader also alleged Saturday`s attack once again proved beyond doubt that armed groups were very much active in government-controlled areas as the three camps that were attacked were surrounded by army and police installations.
At Upparu in Trincomalee the Karuna faction reportedly launched a revenge attack on the Wanni faction yesterday in retaliation for the Welikanda attack, killing at least eight LTTE cadres and injuring several others, Trincomalee police said.
The attack using small arms and shells lasted for about 15 minutes with the LTTE retaliating and causing an unknown number of casualties on the Karuna faction.
However when contacted by the Daily Mirror, the LTTE Trincomalee political head S. Elilan claimed the attack was launched by the Army and not the Karuna faction. He also rejected claims of LTTE casualties in the attack saying instead that one civilian was injured in the cross fire. The government has vehemently denied the existence of armed groups in government-controlled areas in the North and the East despite the LTTE claims backed by the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission.