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Representations made by Commander of the Army Jagath Jayasuriya

Representations made by Commander of the Army Jagath Jayasuriya

2010 Sep 08

Wanni, Security Force Commander Wanni, from 7th Aug 2007 till I took over command on 15th July,
2009, I am also represented with four other officers here. Gen. Kamal Gunaratne who was the general
officer commanding officer 53 division who took part in the battle. Then Gen. Prasanna Silva, who was
the general officer commanding 55 division, which came from North and finally at the last stage at the
Mullaithivu and Gen.Shavendra Silva who commanded the 58 division involved in the final battle, also
Brigadier.Susanttha Ranasinghe who was my Principal Staff Officer and now Commissioner General of
Rehabilitation, who would be able to explain exactly and practically what they did.
Before I became the Security Force Commander in 2005, 2006 I was general officer commanding
52division in Jaffna, that was the time when they had the cease fire agreement and the peace process
was on, but there was so much of violations of the CFA by the LTTE and on 11th Aug, 2006 there was a
major attack in Tumomallai defenses. My divisional area was also affected, even though we were a few
km away, LTTE artillery fire fell on our camps also my headquarters located towards Point Pedro. A
decision was taken to counter the attack with an offensive. Thereafter, after a few days I went out of the
island and went on a course for one year and after I returned took over as the Security Force
Commander Wanni on 7th Aug 2007.
I was based in Vavuniya and saw the entire picture of war, practically of course the General Officer
Commanding will know exactly what they did, but overall I know and was responsible for the conduct
of the whole thing with the formation commander doing the detailed ground operations, plus
maintaining essential service and looking after civilians for the entire population of Wanni. Just go in a
sequence of action that took place from the time I went in to Wanni. So at that time, of course I came in
2007, after HE The President took the decision, Eastern operations were almost concluded. General
Prasanna Silva also took part in the Eastern Operations. In Feb 2007 the Wanni operations started with
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launch of the 57division, North West of Vavuniya. There was a set back and still June there was a pause
and then they started again. At that time it was a LTTE controlled area and Government controlled area
in the Wanni, Vavuniya , Mannar, and Weli Oya and again in the North Muhamalai northwards and the
balance part was known as the uncontrolled areas or under LTTE control. So, the system was that the
items Gassetted were prohibited to be sent to the Wanni area. There were four GAsŸ operating and I was
controlling under me, GA Mulaithivu, GA Vavuniya, GA Kilinochchi and GA Mannar. They had areas
that were LTTE controlled and all their requirements for maintenance of essential services, food and
other things for people in Wanni was sent from the South through Vavuniya. So the GA as who are
responsible make their request at my HQ where the coordinating officers on civil affairs and they check
the list thatŸs provided to see these are authorized items on the Gassette and also the quantities and these
are approved and these items are sent to the North. At Omanthi, we had a pointŸ entry/exitŸ point where
all items are checked, all items go up as well as all items going down. Even though we had given
approval all items are unloaded and physically checked. Similarly items coming from the uncontrolled
areas are also checked. So many items that the LTTE want to smuggle are detected many times and am
sure you would have heard of these happenings for example they would smuggle explosives in a coconut
under the pretext of normal coconut, out of 200 coconuts in a gunny bag there might be a few with
explosives inside. There were other items like shoe that was also used to smuggle items that the LTTE
wanted and there fore a through checking done to prevent these penetrating this point. These are
examples and many of such type. Sometimes a few have gone through. However, a lot of controls were
maintained. This control was for all the products that were going into Wanni areas and also out of the
areas to the South. So at the entry exit point we had the thorough checking of vehicles, baggages and
persons and also the authority for them to move is also monitored and records were maintained, as it was
computerized and data was available at the exit entry point. The operations were continuing with the 57
division as I said towards the Madhu church, the North West area, it was a jungle with not much
population. They were progressing towards that and towards end September when Commando Army,
launched Task Force 1, again a newly raised formation, which became 58division which was
commandeered by Gen. Shavendra Silva, in Silawatura area towards Mannar on the Western edge.
Subsequently the 59 division was launched on the East side of Sri Lanka towards Mulaithivu to conduct
the operations. Thereafter we had other formations such as Task Force 2, 3, 4 that took part in the
offensive from Vavuniya from the Southern side, where as from the Northern side the 53 and 55
divisions conducted operations. Very cautiously operations were conducted, as the Chief of Defense
Staff said, the policy was zero casualties. So operations were done with small groups such as 4 man and
8 man teams. No major manuals were done like other country would do in conventional war fare, as we
were fighting in the jungle and had many restrictions on the use of heavy machinery and fire power.
Tanks were never used in theses operations and thus it was an infantry operations were we grouped in
4man, 8 man teams operating through jungle. They were restricted to the used of small arms. We have
used artillery, mortars during operations but always we had the locating devices with them in our own
controlled area which would indicate day and night with the radars on areas a shot is falling. Accurate
firing can be conducted with mortar locating radar, we could pin point the exact location of their launch
and accordingly counter these. This was the technology that we were using. All formations were
equipped with the artillery fire and radars that could give coverage of about 35km in front of them. Our
operations were continued through the jungle. The LTTE policy was that at that time to take control of
the population. We were going in frontal, LTTE always took the population backwards to wards their
own area and people who could escape always said that the LTTE never allowed them to cross over to
our side, though there were gaps, they were never used. They mustered the population and kept them to
be used as a human shield. Operations progressed over the period from 7th Aug finally up to 19th May,
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we mainly went west of A9 in the jungle initially – Vavuniya, Madhu church area, from the western
edge from Adampan, rice bowl area, Vedithalivu area going up to Mulangavil. Then the 59 division on
the Eastern side went north of Padaviya, of Weli Oya area towards Mullaithivu. At that time there was
no problem of maintaining essential services even at that time because still there was enough room for
people to go and we knew people were going so all the agencies INGOs and UN agencies and NGOs
were still working and had the facility to go to uncleared areas through the facilities we had provided
through the Omanthai exit re-entry point, so the GAs were still in control, the hospitals in Kilinochi,
Mullaithivu were functioning and the directors were in touch with us to give them essential medical
services. So INGOs functioned the roads functioned so there was no problem and as far as possible we
maintained all the operations west of A9 and we kept the A9 free for the movements of the requirements
of the population. We give a lot of prominence to the humanitarian angle and service. It all started off
with the Humanitarian Operations and so the humanitarian factor was looked into and thus we always
endeavoured to provide essential services and look after the population. Madhu Church was a good
example, it was captured on the 22nd of April 2008 and the following day itself I informed the Vicar
General Fr.Victor who was in Mannar Bishops House, I called him and took him to the Church. I took
him personally to the location as the LTTE was alleging that there were a lot of damages to the church,
even though there were a few firing in the vicinity I showed the church and handed over the church to
him. There were a few damages to the church due to the LTTE firing. Experts would give evidence
based on the type of damage and the directions of the explosions that caused damaged to the building as
to from which direction the firing came from and the angle in which the firing would be done and to
whose method this would be. I explained to him these facts. The Church was intact.
The church was vacated with the Statue taken by Fr.Emil; he used to be in contact with me by a CDMA
phone, he gave me all the details of what the LTTE was doing around and then he told me that he has
to vacate as it became unbearable and I think by the 3rd or 4th he vacated. By 23rd we rescued the church
and handed it over to them.
The point I want to highlight here is the continues communications and very close dialogues that were
maintained with INGOs, UN agencies, ICRCs – Ms. Valery in particular, the Head of the ICRC- in
order to have the supplies go to the population. Then from the Government level, they had a
consultation every month called „Consultative Committee on Humanitarian AssistanceŸ. It was chaired
by the donor countries in Colombo and my chief Civil Coordinating officer from the HQ attends this
meeting regularly. The five ambassadors and the Secretary of Defense and all the other INGOs attend
this very important meeting and all the points from the INGOs and the donor countries are taken up at
this meeting. The donor countries were dictating things, we always listened to these and met the
requirements and thus it was a very important point of meeting. The humanitarian angles are looked into
and as suggested by the donor countries we try to meet them. At local level we have our own meetings
with the INGs and NGOs and meet whatever the requirements that is there.
Then while the operations were progressing more towards the North – Kilinochi, Paranthan and
Pooneryn the western coast was open and the fishermen and others were able to escape in small number
from the LTTE control and came towards Mannar and the initial IDP centre we started establishing in
and around Mannar schools. From the East also, sometimes towards Weli Oya there were few small
numbers started to trickle in. Their statement was that they could not stay due to the harassment of the
LTTE and they escaped with whatever they had and in boats. Initially few numbers came in and we
started establishing IDP centres in Mannar area.
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So operation s continued to progress on the west of the island and by Sept 2008 finally we were getting
very close to Kilinochi and there was a requirement for us to take on the A9 because the operations were
progressing very well. The Secretary of Defense made the announcement for the INGOsŸ and NGOsŸ to
vacate the conflict areas – this was in Sept 2008 one month notice was given to move all their equipment
and expatriate staff from the areas to Vavuniya and re-establish there in the controlled areas. The
instruction was passed on. However, Unfortunately, the LTTE did not allow all of them to come on time
and the LTTE took over some of the heavy machinery that were used by the INGOs in the development
work in the areas such as earth moving machinery etc. The staff was able to come at the last moment as
the LTTE was holding them too. The air force has the UAVs with the Captured INGO machineries
being used by the LTTE for their defenses. Somehow we managed to get the expatriate staff out and the
local staff also, though some staff remained who were local employees and continued to function. But
we still allowed the World Food Program and The ICRC to continue as the food had to be sent in feed
the people of the area.
So operations continued, we took over the A9, the western edge with the zero casualty policy so that the
population is also able to get to safe areas, we continued from the western edge around Pooneryn then
came eastwards to Paranthan. It was the 58 division that came and the 57 division joining up and finally
took Kilinochchi on 2nd January 2009. A9 was taken over by the army and from the other side
progressed to Mulaithivu operations. So the population was now confined to North eastern part of the
Wanni and the LTTE also was congregating into those areas.
We had the population in the Vishamadu, Pudukuripu, and finally Pudumathlam, people were in that
area and so we discussed with the UN and ICRC and arranged for alternative roads to send the food. We
still continued to send the food convoy about 60 Lorries took the food requirements. So since we had the
control of the A9 up to Kilinochchi we sent the food on the A9 up to Mankulam and them turn right on
the Odusudan road again into uncontrolled area and then to Pudukudiripu. Thereafter operations
progressed and we took that i.e. A34 , we took Mankulam Odusudan road, we allowed convoys to take
the Pullankulam, Nedurkani, Odusudan and Pudukudiripu till the last possible days that we could send
we arranged alternative roads for the food to go to the people who were in these areas. The discussion
were with ICRC and the INGOs to take the most possible roads including the A32, sea routes and others
to carry food, medicines and other essential services requirements. The INGOs and ICRC were happy
that they were able to continue the dialogue with us and make alternative arrangements to look after the
people.
Then while these operations was progressing after Kilinochi we went Eastwards on the A35 towards
Viswamadhu, Pudukudiripu and then with taking of the A9 the initial influx of the IDPs started to come
in and about 23000 came from the Mankulam and other adjoining areas and we started to establish IDP
camps. First we established the Manik farm known as the Kadhriklama Village, It was done by the
Government and no INGO supported that it was totally on Government expenditure. We built semipermanent
buildings with zinc sheets. A village with 500 compartments and everything was established
in that. It was by the Hon.Min.Basil Rajapakse. Schooling, Bank, Health, Co-operative, Vocational
Training Centre, all these were there and comfortable accommodation with toilets and water supply. The
Army did the first construction and established the first IDP camp. The initial 23000 that came in were
taken into this camp. Here I would like to emphasize the procedure that was adopted is that the IDPs
would enter from an area in the forward zone, they come along the A9 buses are provided to them, they
come to the Omanthai Exit Re-entry point which has all the facilities . At this point we do a detailed
procedure. They are photographed, registered by name and the family photograph is also taken
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numbered so that we have the identification. All the data is entered in the computers, their baggages are
all checked, initial basic food is provided That is done by the GA and as we number them we handover
to the GA, they are bordered in a bus and taken to the IDP camp.
Here there was a requirement to identify the people who were connected with the LTTE organization
and at all times I ensured that representatives from the UN and ICRC were present at all times in order
to avoid the allegations that people go missing at check points. My staff officers will agree with that. At
the end I ensured that their list and our list were the same in total and names. I didnŸt want anyone to say
later on that so and so was missing. So there were LTTE connected persons and we had our people from
the Intelligence and the Police and representatives and if there was an identified person he is kept
separately and these organizations representatives are aware of this. The names of the people who have
been identified as LTTE cardre are entered separately and those are the people now we have in these
rehabilitation camps as surrendersŸ. Initially we started off with 10000 and now the numbers are much
less. So the UN and The ICRC are aware that from this family X is taken and he is safely available and
later we will tell the organization that he is in this particular camp. These lists are complied and ensured
that the names and the totals match – the list from ICRC & the UN with our list.
This was one point of ensuring transparency of the surrendered cadres. Then many top officials came
during these operations, John Holms came, some of the people visited the Omanthai Entry Exit point to
see for themselves the procedure, and they were satisfied with those procedures. Since there were not
many people there due to the war zone to provide food, the Army initially and continued to provide food
such like gram and other stuff being boiled continuously in camps to ensure that they are given food.
Later when the numbers were getting larger I initiated the dry pack which included glucose, biscuits,
jujups energy food and a bottle of water or drink to be given immediately on their arrival for inspection
at the exit reentry point because some have had no proper food.
While the operations were going on the progress more towards the end as the Secretay of Defense said,
we had instructions on the use of heavy weapons, rules of engagement, so they were all told, and also
sent in written form to the formation commanders and they were all told and these implemented as per
the direction got from the higher head quarters. There were „No Fire ZonesŸ sets in total four in
Visvamadu area and subsequently shifted to Pudukuripu and finally to Pudumathlai, Welamulai Waikal
NFZ. Even within locally, I have the documents if you want, locally if there is a hospital or an ICRC
establishment even those reference has been given and one kilometer zone from that position we have
said is a No Fire Zone specially for UN and ICRC we gave special permission because they continued to
look after the civilians. Other than the NFZ we ensured if there was a WFP storage a one kilometer zone
was declared as a NFZ for those to secure all those places including ICRC medical aid points to since
there were still expatriate staff with specially the ICRC till the last minute.
Then as the Air Force Commander CDS said the use of unmanned aided vehicles and the latest high
technology, every detail was given. These formation Commanders will be able to tell, this time we had
technology the forward most headquarters received these UAV images and it is the first time in Sri
Lanka we had this so all the details could have been seen from the UAV images, and as the formation
commanders would tell they were able to see these images and they were able to pinpoint all attack areas
precisely, civilian populated areas, LTTE populated and small group areas were visible clearly to
maintain the forward formation with the „Zero Civilian CasualtyŸ policy in mind. This way the forward
divisions were able to see exactly where the fighting was going on and also civilian activities, so that
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they could now make their forward attack strategy with targeted spots. The Ariel UAVs were deployed
continuously with night and day operations in order to be able to know the situation of the theater of war
and details of intelligence for forward attack and avoid civilian areas. These images were updated and
always available and this also helped in minimizing civilian casualties and maintaining the „Zero
CasualtyŸ policy.
Then towards the end, the area was getting smaller and smaller there was a requirement to provide
security to the food convoy, because the LTTW was trying to grab as I had a lot of complaints from the
|UN, a local representative at that time so we up and when they go into the uncleared area that had the
issue of doing by themselves. We ensured minimum delay at the Vavuniya loading point we were
present so we checked the loading and without any interruption we escorted up to the final transit point
which was out of our control area. Subsequently when the road movement was getting impossible the
ICRC in discussion with us and coordination of the Navy to transport the food and essential services by
sea on ships to the landing points and also evacuated the elderly and the casualties from these areas.
These facilities were also provided when the road movement was not possible.
Finally the operations were conducted and the GAŸs would be able tell you exactly what precaution they
took in maintaining minimum casualties and what LTTE did as they saw for themselves what happened
and finally on 19th May we concluded the operations and there after the civilians – 293,000 IDPs were
brought in to Vavuniya and settled in various camps, established in Chetikulam and other villages up to
six zones. It was a massive task, some in Weli oya, some in Mannar, and they were settled in.
Now as per the directions of the Government we have started de-mining and resettling people. We are in
this stage of operations. If we look at Vavuniya we have come down to 32,000 IDPs only to resettle and
the delays is the de-mining. The area has to be de-mined and as the LTTE did not keep maps of their
mining activity it is difficult which contravenes all conventions, however, now that we have to search
and de-mine every inch of the land before people are resettled. We are going into villages and de-mining
on a priority basis all these villages for settlement of the people and there after de-mine the other areas.
So resettlement is progressing and there is a lot of support from the security forces – all three services
are supporting the resettlement of people in construction of houses, helping in this area and there are a
large number of houses that have been done by the forces also for the people.
Handling of the Surrendees: Details of which of Brid.Ranasinghe will give. All the lists were matched
with the ICRC and the UN and there was no discrepancy and nobody can say anyone was missing. All
the under 18 were sent to Ambepussa especially the females to the rehabilitation centre for children and
others were in Vavuniya in different camps. Females in one camp and the males in another camp and
these have progressed very well and now the vocational training programs and getting trained. They are
getting rehabilitated and there has also been mass scale marriages done. Some have been united with
their families so the details the Commissioner General will be able to tell you.
Total of casualties up to 2005 – Army had 14177 killed, wounded 54071, and 333 missing. In the final
offensive in the North & East both we had 5628 killed and about 30,600 wounded, 140 missing they are
now declared now dead at the final battle we had.
The other point to mention is the declaration of the „No Fire ZoneŸ, the method we adopted in Colombo
was, at the highest level it was informed to the ICRC head, and locally we gave the map to Mrs.Valeri,
the head of ICRC, so that they were in communication with their representatives in the area as they had
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their people in every NFZ. They used to give the details to them with the coordinates and they conveyed
and in addition Air Force helped us in dropping leaflets plus whatever possible method the
announcements were made. There was loud speaker method of announcements made on NFZ. Giving
information to the people on NFZ which was established. This is one important point that I want to
highlight.
So these are the details that I would like to tell you at this moment. My practically being there, UN, Neil
Boone will confirm the discussions I have had with UN representatives and ICRC and other INGO
agencies., continuous dialogue, they call me even at 3.00 AM if there was a problem, we used to answer
either myself or my staff would respond and whatever report I got from them was very encouraging and
they have been very happy with our performance , because we have been always open to a dialogue and
sort out any issue that was very important to maintain the humanitarian operation. As CDS said when
the IDPs came in the amount of problems we had – the detailed security method we established –
however there was suicide bombing and so many army men and women soldiers died and civilians also
died as the LTTE did not want these people to come in and they were putting scare on them. Still air
force helped us with helicopters. There were so many times we had to evacuated civilians, elderly and
injured all the way to Anuradhapura, without any security check, we did not know whether it was a
civilian or a LTTE cadre we were carrying initially, but we took that humanitarian angle. These are the
activities that were carried out and of course all the details were kept for monitoring, exact details by
name were recorded of all the people who came including the cadres who surrendered.
Mr. Bafiq: The war is over but the army is still there in Jaffna I suppose, to help the civil authorities to
bring about reconciliation which the commission is interested in. I would like to know what steps the
army along with the civil authorities has taken to resettle the Muslims who were driven away from their
birth place and who are away 30 years from their birth place, besides, has the army or the civil
authorities made any attempts to have register of the names and their whereabouts. Also let us know
what has happen to their immovable properties in Jaffna, very valuable properties. Are they abandoned
or are they occupied by others? And there were many religious place of worship, many mosques. I
would like to know from the army what has happened to these mosques.
Commander: Well I think the Muslims got displaced very much earlier in the 1990 I think mainly from
Jaffna and then Mannar side. We have the details of the recently displaced. Most of the Muslims are
now in Puttlam. Minister Reshad Badurudeen who was in charge of the subject unto the last change of
cabinet portfolios was very concerned about it and handling them, and some of the Muslims were
settled, if I am not mistaken, in details. Gen.Gunaratne who is the competent authority on IDP will give
you more details.
Mr. Hangawatte:: When we visited Vavuniya some of the IDPs and detainees told us that during the
last stage while they were running towards the military, escaping from the LTTE, that some were killed
and some were injured, we asked them where the shelling was from, some of them said that the shelling
was from the LTTE side, some of them said that they could not really say, and others said that there was
shelling form both sides. Could you please clarify this?
Commander:: Specific areas if I take, the initial NFZ Vishwamadu, Pudikudiripu area, so the army was
from two directions, from the west and the south, but the LTTE on the liner patch, Pudumathalam, that
area, the LTTE was,- that configuration was different more like a inverted L, so when we were going in
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there had been instances where firing was on to our front line which was closer to the NFZ where the
LTTE was firing and we were also trying to counter some of the fire, so there would have been possible
instances where cross fire would have taken place. ThatŸs a possibility.
Mr. Paliahakkara: Commander thank you very much for your detailed description, I have three
questions to ask and am not sure whether you or your field commanders would answer this. Firstly,
nationally and internationally there was observations about civilian casualties, specially our forces were
faced with a unprecedented situation of nearly 300,000 strong human shield, especially the last part of
the operation and, at that point, of course you described to us the care taken to maintain zero or
minimize civilian casualties, but at this last phase of the operation when you are faced with that
possibility, what was the military options available to you to save those people and what eventually did
your field commanders do, can you describe to the commission? For record, because this was the most
controversial part as it were, both nationally and internationally. What was the strategy adopted and the
tactics used? You said there was a policy of using no heavy weapons, and how was it put into practice
and CDS had very clearly said that no air power was used, it is important for us to understand the means
you adopted that is the sequence you adopted up to 19th May, secondly, you did refer to the Army
casualties, now do you have any idea as to the LTTE casualties? At least a rough estimate and is there
any indications of civilians getting caught in cross fire situation? Thirdly, just for the CommissionŸs
benefit we were told, this is the third question I donŸt know whether you or your field commanders or
the Commissioner General of Essential Services would want to answer that regarding the surrender
situation, we were told by the Manik farm and the Omanthai Detention Centre that the procedure was
that they were asked to make a declaration, whether they were in the LTTE, and if so did they were to
voluntarily have to do that. But in the battle field situation was there any challenges to you or your field
commanders, how did you handle that? Those are the three questions. Thank you.
Commander: Thank you sir. Really the methods the field commanders will be able to give you the
details. The final stage the liner stretch that we were in, like Puthumathalam going down to Welakulaika
so we were on this side of the lagoon which was about 1000meters in depth and they were on that liner
stretch, the population and the LTTE and there was bunds and we never rushed in, any way we had to
go across the obstacle, so a small groups which I said were going into probably in the night, the last bit it
took over a month even though it was a few kilometers to finish that. They would send the recky party
and get the details. Immediately after bund was the road which had about 100 to 150 meters apart and all
the people they kept them beyond the road towards the sea thatŸs how it was. Other side of the road
towards the lagoon where we were coming in was all the LTTE defenses so I know I think our forces
went in and reckied all those places. The operation was done in such a way we took a crunch off an area
where we infiltrated from either side and attacked from the rear towards our side so that firing is towards
our side and no firing done towards the enemy side. We tried to go behind them on to that road, because
there was nobody on the road and from the road to commence operations towards us, may be at a given
time maintaining surprise. So that type of methods we used and breached accordingly and then when
people got to know that we had come sort of got the LTTE in that area under control the population
started running into us and that was what was shown in the UAV and there after the LTTE prevented the
population coming to us, gathering them into places and firing at them, I think internationally also
broadcast. So that was the method that we used. As I said with restriction we were getting on by one the
last few kilometers it took so much of time. I think we were inching forward. We were taking a lot of
precautions, used only the small arms and may be for a day not even 200meters, I used to ask give your
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position on the map, it like you are on the same place. It was very slow progress. So those were the
precautions that we took, the general officer commanding who was really involved in front will be able
to tell give you more details. If you talk casualties from the record we have unfortunately our
intelligence and the inelegance agencies never had any figures of the LTTE cadres because we believe,
they recruited whilst the operation was going on. There were people one day trained, three day trained,
seven day trained. You can call him a LTTE cadre because he has been trained by the LTTE. So initially
the figures we had was somewhere in ten or twelve thousand and we were monitoring throughout our
battle and with their radio communications they declare one day not immediately but few day the names,
so at the end I think we had about 12, 000 names confirmed , but still there was so much of fighting
going on so there was no exact figure but 12,000 names were confirmed up to the final stage but still
LTTE was fighting against us so we believe that 12,000 became, because of the ongoing recruitment that
they did and they were also categorized as LTTE carders . But finally, there was information to say they
had about 22,000. ThatŸs what we heard.
Surrendees, as I said at the Omanthai exit re-entry point the procedure that we did. One point I forgot to
tell was when we brought them in buses, there was about 100,000 who surrendered I used about 300
buses, buses I got from Colombo even. Then used to bring them in buses and there used to by about 50
to 100 in one bus and when they get down at the final point we make them to sit down and a
announcement is made in Tamil to tell them to voluntarily identify yourself if you have been in the
LTTE. Because we told them if you donŸt identify and you are recognized later you might have issues
because you have not declared yourself. So we tell at the initial registration, if you are a LTTE please
come to a side. There were lots of people who identified themselves as a LTTE cadre. So we took them
separately as I said and registered them. But there after there were people who have not declared so
when they start to be interrogated, they themselves go and identify some in the IDP camp proper. So
there was continuous, today some people say there are cadres who have come back, they themselves
identify and resettle and they have been in the IDP camps and not declared. Initially we politely told
them identify and majority identified themselves, they knew that they are going to get into other issues
so they identified themselves and we took them separately.
All are now in rehabilitation they are all declared and in protective centers.
Chairman: At the rehabilitation centre that we questioned said that they had been with the LTTE, but
they have been with the LTTE, some of the people, five six years ago, so they have agreed that they
have been with the LTTE. But the environment that was prevailing at that time, because the situation
was not conducive for you all to do a proper investigation, the details of their involvement was not
recorded. So now they are saying as a result they are languishing in the rehabilitation centers, because at
the time they crossed over they were not with the LTTE, but they had been with the LTTE at some stage
or other. So that was the complaint they were making. Of course, they also said that the environment
was such that it was not possible for the army to have made a detailed record of their involvement,
because hundreds of thousands of persons were coming in, so that was I would like to know the truth of
what they are saying. Whether you all were in a position to really interrogate them and find out what
their involvement was or when they confessed that they had been with the LTTE, you merely took them
on their word and just sent them to the rehabilitation centers.
Commander:: As you said Sir, it was a very difficult task and initially we were profiling them, serialing
them with their name, photograph, age and so on and we told them to declare themselves so we made
10
into various profiles, people with over ten years in the organization, 5 to 10 years, 1 to 5 years, so many
months, days and so on of different profiles. So we are done. I donŸt think one interrogation agencies
could interrogate 10,000, even now we know among them some are less connected and some are more
connected and they donŸt still admit also. There are cases like that. If you take one individual he might
not say, but he would have been a top fighter but he might say that he was doing a small job or
something like that. So finding our exact details is tough. Some of them talk and investigations are on,
thatŸs why we are able to unearth equipment in the no Fire Zones. They are still giving information.
Recently some body talked about aircraft parts. Navy got some engines explosives recently. So they
have not spoken the truth hundred percent, but we have profiled them on what they have said and the
interrogation is going on. Various agencies have identified some, among them also some have been
identified as strong LTTE and which I think they are going to prosecute. Over 1000 I think have been
identified as strong LTTE and legal action will be taken but others, of course we are taking a chance but
we are rehabilitating them and reuniting them with families. So thatŸs a gamble that we have to take.
Mr. Paliahakkara: Commander you have no estimates about civilian situation?
Commander: No.
Mr. Paliahakkara. We there any problem about battle field Surrendees?
Commander: Whilst, fighting we did not have surrendees but the last few days such as the 15th, 16th,
17th 18th, really till the 16th The LTTE did not allow anybody to come because the LTTE thought they
because of the Indian election they thought there would be some decision by the Indians and they could
be rescued but from 16th people came in and some admitted on the spot that they were cadres and some
were injured and wanted medical attention and these are declared and photographed – including three
girls. So some we took and look after them. Some came with the IDPs, they came with the fear that the
population will rise against them. That problem was also there because the people who have been in
charge of conscripting were targeted by the people. Because they had taken their children.
Mr. Paliahakkara: Actually The LTTE was shooting at them and a number of LTTE was also taken by
ship to Trincomalee along with the ICRC evacuees I am told.
Commander: So really when somebody is a casualty like civilians, everyone was in civilian enclosure
even the LTTE was in the enclosure and one gets injured and tell ICRC that you are a civilian and that
you got injured. ItŸs as simple as that. Without the weapon he is a civilian and not in uniform.
Mrs. Ramanathan: Commander Jayasooriya, now the war is over and the de-mining and the resettling
is taking place, how far have you progressed in de-mining the Killinochi and Mullathivu areas? And has
the Nandikadal area has been fully de-mined?
Commander: Killinochi west of A9 is done, East of A9 is also done up to about Vishwamadu we have
gone. We are yet to go towards just west of nandkadal, Pudikudiripu that area. Mullaithivu South is done
and people have been settled.
Mr. Bafiq: According to the present prevailing condition are the Jaffna farmers able to cultivate their
crops?
11
Commander: Yes.
Mr. Bafiq: Are their goods reaching the South? Is there any impediment transporting their goods?
Commander: Every thing is normal and we are giving priority to Jaffna products now and the prices are
also coming down. Because of this. Twenty four hours roads are being used, no unloading or checking.
Every thing is normal now.
Mr. Paranagama: You have gone through all this mill, what can you says about the reconciliation?
Commander: It will take some time. People will have to understand all the details. My personal opinion
is that there was strict control under the LTTE and the people only heard what the LTTE was saying, so
it will take a little time for them to get out of that mind frame and to look around and understand.
Mr. Paranagama : What do you think the best approach to it?
Commander: Government will have to now look in to the grievances and what the issue was for such
a situation to and take action so that the grievances are sorted so that there is a better future for all.
My personal opinion is that this whole area has to be transformed, I have told HE also that we should
build highways and so on, at the moment the because of the distances and the time involved they thing
you are coming from a far. But with the highways you come in two hours to Colombo do your business
and get back you donŸt feel you are from a different part. So that type of thing will definitely help in
building confidence and sorting out the issues.
Mr. Hangawatte: Commander you mentioned that you have maintained that you have list of people
who came to the check points or surrendered. Now, when we visited some IDPs and civilians were
saying that there are some family members who are missing and displaced some of them believe that
some of them may be in with their relatives etc may be in various camps or detention centres and they
can not locate and some of them even said that they have approached the army and got no straight
answer. So if you have the lists this can be quickly resolved, do you think?
Commander: Yes. This issue came because, as I said the Omanthi procedure when a family of five
came they have been registered and one of them identifies himself as LTTE and so he is taken out and
registered separately and kept. These four get into a bus and go to the IDP camp but he is kept there, so
these four does not know where he is because it is a separate procedure for him and he goes to some
other camp . If somebody says he is in a rehabilitation camp in this location if somebody can convey that
message to him, he is not aware of, thatŸs the issue they are having. We had a problem like that specially
gave them to GA to put them into IDP camps, I think it did not work out all that well, some went to a
particular camp, some went to another camp and they were in tents, so there was confusion, people
thought that they were missing, but they are in some camp but do not know where they are and that is
the issue. Mainly because people were kept for questioning for us to finally take a decision, that delay
as we canŸt keep everybody waiting so others were sent in buses, thereafter he may have got into after
about 10 buses he would have gone into some other camp so there they were far apart and it took a lot of
12
time, ICRC was doing that like tracing where they have a system to trace people thereafter of course we
were establishing telephones and all that and finding out details, it actually took a lot of time for people
to be reunited, but now I think the majority most of the issues have been solved and it has come down to
32,000, Kamal will be able to tell you whether issue still exist.
Chairman: Did the ICRC at any stage make any complaints to you regarding any human rights
violations by the forces.
Commander: Well they said when firing takes place sometimes you donŸt know who is firing they say
firing is taking place, so when they tell us we check through our radio communications, we had control
of our fire so we give instructions to check on that and take precautions accordingly but we have no
control over LTTE fire.
Chairman: No what I want to know is that if the ICRC was there they would have seen what is
happening, if there were any violations by the forces then they would have observed this and they would
have brought this to your notice.
Commander: If there was any incident within the NFZ they tell you. Then we investigate and take
precautions accordingly.
Chairman: Not about the operations, sometimes there are operations that you do in the NFZ also where
you had to do certain operations, I am not talking about the operations but certainly if there was gross
violation of human rights by the forces then I would expect them to have brought these to your notice.
Commander: No there were no complaints like that.
Mr. Chanmugam: It was a very trying and difficult period during the last 3 to 4 years until the final
military was able to vanquish the LTTE. During this period the civilian administration had an even more
difficult task to perform because they were really in an area was the LTTE was present, how do you
view their role and what do you think of their performance.
Commander: I am not sure how genuine they were by although they were government officials they
were under pressure by the LTTE to get things but as I said things were sent under strict controls and
till the end when we went and dug all these places we found massive fuels tanks with fuel inside,
whether they got it from governments officials who were under pressure to work. I know the hospital
directors were under pressure because they had to treat the LTTE casualties. In those hospitals they were
under pressure but they had no option I think. But one point I forgot was we were in contact with the
Mullativu AGA until the last minute, he had a CDMA telephone UN and ICRC had satellite phones but
Mullativu AGA was there until the last and we will still in touch with him and my staff officers directly
contacted him on the situation and the requirements and all that so that was one good thing to get the
exact picture at times. So we were communicating with all those people.
Chairman: I must say that we had the occasion to visit two tanks, one of which was rehabilitated by the
army and one that was constructed by the army in Puliyankulam. I must say that we were very
impressed with the work that was carried out by the Army. I was wondering whether the resources
available in those areas, like man power could be utilized or the manpower of the army could utilized for
13
the purpose of rehabilitating those areas because there is a lot of reconstruction that has to go on and
when we saw what the army has done, I must say that we were very impressed. So, whether the army
could play a very pro-active role using its manpower to do something to help the people of the area
because it was very apparent that the army was capable of doing it in Puliyankulam. So if that being so I
think even in the other areas probably there is something the army could do for the purpose of improving
the life and conditions of the people in those areas. What are your views on that?
Commmander: In fact we are full involved with the “Uthuru Wasanthai “ programme chaired by the
Presidential Task Force and we have got special machinery earth moving over 300 held by the army and
all our deployed in the North. So as for the programme by the Presidential Task Force we are going with
them and I fully agree, and everybody has praised us about our efficiency and effectiveness is much
better than any other contractor or whoever is involved, so we are doing whatever projects we have
undertaken and we are fully involved at the moment in the restoration of tanks, doing up roads, various
other constructions, lots of bridges we are doing, so likewise all the manpower which is now in the
North. In the |East we have finished the “Neganahiru Udana” and in the North we are doing thatyand we
will continue to do that.
In addition our normal troops who have been involved in operations, they are involved in non-skilled,
they are involved in helping in various projects like putting up small houses for them, in Jaffna along the
army sponsored and did 760 houses out of our own money and labour. Likewise Kilininochchi has done
over 1300 houses I know, Kilinochchi formations have done. We are fully involved in it and doing as
per the directions of the Presidential Task Force.
Mrs. Ramanathan: Now the war is over, military presence in large number are still in the North which
is a great concern and worry to the Tamil common man living in the North. Your response to this
statement please.
Commander. Well hard earned peace has to be properly secured and consolidated and that is our prime
responsibility at the moment, just because we finished the war one year ago does not mean that we have
100% security so that was our concern but as you said we had large number of troops those who took
part in the operations remained in those areas and now it has totally changed and large numbers have
now come to other areas and my policy for the new thinking for the army is that we have one battalion
about 600 troops in every district so we have now gone into all the district and we are taking over some
of the areas held by the Police and the army, navy and airforce because that is not their role so we are
taking all those areas and army is coming down to other areas for their normal ground role, the airforce
and Navy will get into the air and seas and that is being done and subsequently the army would be
confined to their camps and the Police is now gradually coming back to the normal Police role.. Very
soon the Police will come into total control and the army would be kept in reserve. The numbers have
come down but those who are there in the North the hue and cry is probably because we are putting up
our camps because they have been under trees for mainly years so we are now we are giving them
comfortable accommodation because they have to be in a camp in those areas. Camps are being put up
because we never had camps in some of the areas so they are being constructed just to accommodate to
make them comfortably, thatŸs what is happening but generally the army will be in the entire island in
all the districts and it will be balanced deployment with no particular concentration in any area.
14
Mr. Paliahakkara: We had very good words from a number of IDPs about the forces, whether it is the
army. Navy or airforce treated those 300,000 odd people when they came in. Thereafter, they have one
concern though, you said that you have list of the people who surrendered and you made sure that list
are available with different people. Is it possible to make a detailed list, because one of the concerns that
these people said are that they donŸt know where their relatives in which camps and that they are being
shifted. Is it possible to make available these list to may be a GA or somebody so that people can check
it and know where to visit and things like that, they wanted this out of goodwill because they said that
the security forces treated us well when they asked us to come over.
Commander: We have that. GA Vavuniya also has that list. It was computerized. At that time the
decision was to put them into the web so that anybody abroad can access and find whether their relatives
are there in a particular camp. That was the original plan but subsequently it did not happen but the list
was there compiled into one book. We also had it camp wise.
Mr. Paliahakkara. We were told otherwise.
Chairman: There was one concern that was expressed by some of the people there that the private lands
were being used by the army for the purpose of construction the army camp. What do you have to say
about this ?
Commander: No I donŸt agree with that allegation. We have gone only into crown land only, if we are
occupying some of them we would be vacating once the camps are constructed and if people come in
and we will vacate but we have identified crown land and discussed with the local GAs and it is there
that the permanent camps are being constructed. No private land would be kept by us. But originally
when Jaffna was initially taken over by the forces we occupied most of the government and private
houses because Jaffna does not have much bare land, but we paid rent, but all those would be vacated in
due course.
Chairman: I can understand and fully appreciate your concerns that round the camps you have to have
security to ensure that in future there would be no threat to the camps and their concerns were in some
areas and I believe Mr. Anandasagarie whilst giving evidence said that there were areas where the army
was utilizing private lands.
Commander: I agree that at the moment some are still be utilized.
Chairman: What he said was that the army is in the process of buildings to house the army personnel
in certain areas. That is the concern he expressed.
Chairman: In some specific areas it may happen to a few because for any re-settlement they will have
to be relocated to some other place due to some security concern which is a possibility but off hand I
canŸt tell you what it is, but there is a possibility. For security we have to hold this area. Then probably
some have to be relocated, then it is the responsibility of the government agencies to give them land and
build a house and give ownership to that. So on that basis there is a possibility. That possibility is there
mainly based on the security requirements.
15
Chairman: I think the Navy Commander will also make his presentations but we will take a 5 minute
break before we call the Navy Commander to make his presentation and thereafter I think your field
commanders there would be certain questions the field commanders would also be able to respond to So
we take a 5 minute break.

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