Only 3 LTTE leaders, other than Prabhakaran and his wife, knew of his whereabouts. Other than his son Charles Anthony, the only other LTTE leaders who knew where he was was Poddu Ammaan, the Intelligence Chief and the head of the LTTE`s Medical Unit, Reagan.
The latter was taken in and detained for days until Military Intelligence got hold of him. Until then Regan had pretended he did not know Prabhakaran`s whereabouts. Thanks to Reagan`s information, MI officers had clearly identified Prabhakaran`s lair by 16th evening/17th dawn.
They uncovered an elaborate plan by Prabhakaran and gang to breach the 53 FDL. The plan was to cross the lagoon to Mullaitivu-Weli Oya Jungles, from there to reach the Eastern Province (Batticaloa/Ampara) via Trincomalee, where `Colonel` Ram`s team was waiting.
Within hours of this warning, on 17th May at dawn, Tigers had started their final operation. A daring sea borne operation was launched. All Army Divisions, forewarned, reacted swiftly but the Tigers managed to breach the FDL of the 53 Division at its weakest and take-out several bunkers killing 15 SLA. They also seized an Army Ambulance.
Moments later, the 53 Division retaliated. A hail of RPG HEAT/Thermobaric rockets were fired. Around 200 LTTE cadres had died in the attack. 30 bodies were reduced to ashes. Limbs of the LTTE`s best were scattered all over the place. The captured ambulance was also hit in the melee and burnt swiftly.
It was upon investigating the ambulance that 3 bodies, one of which resembled Prabhakaran`s body structure was discovered. The body was blackened and beyond facial/physical recognition. But the Army knew it may very well be Prabhakaran. There was no other way for him to escape.
Prabhakaran should have been killed either in the box-in by the Special Forces, the retaliation by the 53 or he should have died injured somewhere along the lagoon. The closest to his remains have been found only inside the charred ambulance.
One of the hardcore cadres captured alive in the attack claimed Prabhakaran was shot and injured in the fight. But he had heard it from an eyewitness, another hardcore cadre who was killed.
The charred bodies, including the one believed to be Prabhakaran were captured by the 53 Division, but were taken away by another Division.
Some 400 bodies were captured by the Army. 1,2, and 5 Special Forces led the clearing operation. The remains may include, in future, missing leaders from the list publicized by the government such as Lawrence, Karikalan, Papa, Ilanthirayan etc.
The remains of top leaders like Poddu, Bhanu and Soosei were identified. Soosei was fighting till 17th evening until the Special Forces rid him of his mysery once and for all. He and Swarnam were the last brave LTTE leaders who held their ground and fought while others were trying to flee the scene.
The fate of the `missing` tiger leaders from the publicized government list will be `filled` in due course!