The LTTE yesterday claimed the government was sending a clear message to the Norwegians that it was not interested in peace talks, by attacking a civilian settlement in LTTE controlled Alampil hours after the Norwegian ambassador had talks with the LTTE in Kilinochchi.
LTTE military spokesman Rasiah Illentheriyan told the Daily Mirror the LTTE was warning the military against attempting to infiltrate LTTE controlled areas in the North. He played down the loss of Thoppigala saying it was not a strategically important location as claimed by the government.
Norwegian Ambassador Hans Brattskar, on Wednesday, heldtalks with an LTTE delegation headed by political head S.P. Thamilselvan in Kilinochchi. They discussed the current political situation in the country as well as the chances of future peace talks.
Hours after the Kilinochchi discussion Air Force fighter planes bombed A`lampil on what the government media center claimed was a sea tiger base but the LTTE insisted it was a fishing settlement. It said at least 2 civilians were killed and 11 injured.
`This was a clear message to Mr. Brattskar from the government that it was not ready for peace talks,` Mr. Illentheriyan told The Daily Mirror adding that the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) was yesterday visiting the site to carry out inquiries.
The Norwegian Ambassador was yesterday scheduled to debrief the chief government negotiator Minister Nimal Siripala deSilva on the visit to Killinochchi and the meeting with the LTTE which was also a farewell call for the Ambassador who ends his term in Sri Lanka this month.
Meanwhile Mr. Illentheriyan also claimed that the military could have easily moved into Thoppigala several days earlier than it eventually did as according to him the LTTE had `changed its tactics` in the east. He warned however the military can now `wait and see` how the LTTE responds to the eastern operation.
`The government boasting about Baron`s cap (Thoppigala) but it could have easily moved in there days earlier because we did not operate any big camps there for sometime. But we are still active there. It is not a strategically important place for us. We had changed our tactics in the east but the government military can wait and see how we respond,` Mr. Illentheriyan said.
He also charged that by focusing heavily on the victory achieved in Thoppigala the government was diverting the attention from Sampur in Trincomalee, another former LTTE stronghold liberated by the military, where he claims the rights of the Tamil community is being severely violated.
Asked if the government will be able to capture rebel areas in the North now that the east has been cleared Mr. Illentheriyan opined that such a move will not bear fruit as the terrain is different and recalled that several military attempts had already ended in failure.
`There are no open spaces in the North like in the East for the military to infiltrate and capture our areas. They tried a lot before and failed. We feel that the government operation in the east was political more than military because a right minded military leader would not have gone for the east,` the rebel spokesman said.
The government Defence Ministry website quoted President Mahinda Rajapakse as saying this week the government is dedicated to wipe out the LTTE practiced terrorism from the Northern Province with the completion of the Eastern operation.