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Shootout in Batticaloa prison

By V. S. Sambandan

COLOMBO: In continued internecine killings in eastern Sri Lanka, two sympathisers of the LTTE's expelled special commander, V. Muralitharan (`Col.' Karuna) were shot dead and another injured in a shootout inside the Batticaloa prison. According to police and security sources, the killer was another inmate, serving term for a criminal offence, but had been earlier in jail for suspected terrorist activities. Police suspect the involvement of the LTTE in the shootout as "the two who were killed and the one who was injured were known sympathisers of `Col.' Karuna''. The two persons killed include Satchi Master (also known as Maran), a close confidant of `Col.' Karuna. According to sources, Mr. Maran was likely to be the secretary of the political party that `Col.' Karuna intends to form shortly. After the shootout, the assassin climbed to the prison rooftop and threatened to kill himself if arrested, but surrendered subsequently. According to police sources, the killer said he used weapons that "were concealed by Maran'' in the prison complex. One more supporter of `Col.' Karuna was reportedly killed "in ambush'' in eastern rebel-held Batticaloa on Wednesday. A report in the TamilNet website quoted eastern LTTE sources as saying that its special jungle warfare unit ambushed "a small group of the paramilitary Karuna Group'' which was "carrying small arms.'' Meanwhile, Senathi, the LTTE's Batticaloa town political wing leader, who was shot on July 5, succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday and was "buried with full military honours'' at an LTTE cemetery in the eastern district.

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