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LTTE intelligence chief leading final battle
COLOMBO, MAR 1 (Agencies):
Published on 2 Mar. 2009 12:41 AM IST
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Pottu Amman, the feared head of the Tamil Tiger intelligence wing who is wanted for former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, is now commanding the guerrillas against the military in Sri Lanka's north, a media report said Sunday. The state-run Sunday Observer reported that Pottu Amman, said to be the second in command in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), "himself has stated to command (in the battlefront)", after realising the grave danger the group is facing. "His (Pottu Amman) voice has been heard for the first time in the radio communications intercepted by the 58 Division," the report said. The Tamil Tigers are trying to prevent the military from entering the heart of the town of Puthukkudiyiruppu, a small town where the LTTE has had a base for years. Pottu Amman and LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran are wanted for the 1991 assassination of Gandhi, who was blown up by a woman suicide bomber at an election rally near Chennai. Indian officials say that although Prabhakaran ordered Gandhi's killing, it was Pottu Amman who oversaw the entire operation. The LTTE intelligence unit tasked with killing Gandhi in India reported to Pottu Amman. According to the Sunday report, Pottu Amman "has vowed not to allow troops to enter Puthukkudiyiruppu junction which is being heavily defended by the LTTE". It said the LTTE, cornered into a 50 sq-km stretch of land in Mullaitivu district, "is fighting tooth and nail in defending their final stronghold". The Observer said the troops were witnessing "the fiercest battles they have ever faced these days". It added that the LTTE was exerting maximum pressure on the troops, making maximum use of its firepower despite limitations in the number of fighters. "They have created a massive (civilian shield), restricting the use of firepower by the security forces," it said. The Tigers were also making desperate attempts to break the security forces' defences south of Puthukkudiyiruppu and enter the jungle patches in Oddusuddan and Mullaitivu. Quoting military intelligence sources, the report said the LTTE was now left with less than 600 cadres and another 100 cadres to provide security to the elusive Prabhakaran. "The only advantage they are having at this moment is heavy firepower and more than 70,000 civilian population trapped in the no fire zone in the coastal belt in the north of Mullaitivu," the report said. Over 70,000 people have died in the Tamil separatist campaign in Sri Lanka since 1983.

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