Military situation in Muttur on 4th August 2006 - The day of the
brutal massacre of 17 aid workers
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On mid night 1st of August, 2006, the Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) launched a major offensive at Muttur, a
remote town in the eastern Sri Lanka. This area includes the camps of
Mahindapura, Kaddaparichchan, Selvanagar, and Muttur naval jetty etc.
The attack was not an isolated attack to capture
Muttur but was a coordinated attack in order to destabilize the total
Jaffna peninsula. The LTTE confrontation for the Mavil Aru Anicut
started on 28th of July 2006 and the humanitarian operation to rescue
the Mavil Aru Anicut was continuing during the time of the attack on the
Muttur town sector.
During the same span of time, LTTE launched
simultaneous attacks on Muhamalei/Nagarkovil defences and Kayts island
respectively, on 11th August 2006 and 12th August 2006, which were
successfully averted by the troops. Trincomalee was the supply base for
the Jaffna peninsula and the capturing of Muttur was more strategic for
the destabilization of Trincomalee naval base and the Jaffna peninsula.
Finally, the over estimation of LTTE capabilities by the terrorists
became the hallmark of failure of the total attack.
The intention of the LTTE in this offensive was to get
control to some extent over the operations of the strategically vital
Trincomalee harbour. This observation is confirmed by the following
statement in the Tamil Net on 2nd August 2006 "Tigers had entered Muttur
jetty a strategic point of access to Trincomalee harbour area".
The terrorists launched the pre-dawn attack keeping
Sampur as the launching pad to capture the Muttur town, which is
situated on the Southern border of Koddiyar bay. A massive strength of
ground cadre, heavy artillery and mortar barrages were used in the
attack. As the security forces could not retaliate using equal force,
due to the presence of a large number of civilians in the area, LTTE
took total control of the Muttur sector. According to recorded incident
reports, it has been found that LTTE had maintained its control in these
areas until 5th August, 2006.
The victims were at the Muttur branch of the ACF under
the direction of their main office situated in Trincomalee. According to
forensic evidence, the victims were murdered during the early hours on
the 4th August 2006 while the LTTE was still in control over the area.
The following is the chronology of the military retaliation as recorded
by Sri Lanka Army:
Chronology of Military Operation
The terrorists launched simultaneous attacks,
supported by artillery and mortar fire on Army Camps in Kaddaiparichan,
Selvanagar, Mahindapura and Naval Detachment Muttur with the ultimate
aim of capturing Trincomalee to gain obvious strategic advantage of a
valuable harbour. However, due to courageous counter attacks carried out
by the motivated and competent troops deployed in these military
detachments (Army/Navy) it was possible to quell the attacks on
Selvanagar and Mahindapura Army Camps but the attacks on Kaddaiparichan
Army Camp and on the Naval Detachment Muttur continued. The LTTE's main
effort was on the Kaddaiparichan Army Camp, where the terrorists
launched repeated assaults from the North East (Kaddaiparichan Bridge)
and also from the North and from West (Muttur Town). Following are the
excerpts of military actions carried out to control the situation in
02 AUG 2006
1. Around or little after mid night of 01st August
2006 terrorists launched simultaneous attacks, supported by artillery
and mortar fire on to Army Camp in Kaddaiparichan, Selavanagar,
Mahindapura and Naval Detachment Muttur, the police post in Muttur town
was also attacked. The Army was able to quell the attacks on Selvanagar
and Mahindapura camps by pm 02nd August but the attacks on
Kaddaiparichan Army Camp and Naval Detachment Muttur continued. The LTTE
main effort was focussed on the Kaddaiparichan Army Camp, where the
terrorists launched repeated assaults from the North East (Kaddaiparichan
Bridge), North and from West ( Muttur Town ).
2. At first light, troops commenced advance from the
South (64 Mile Post) astride Rd A-15 and reached Kaddaiparichan
Detachment by 11 45 hrs under heavy resistance.
3. Around 0700 hrs, troops deployed in Trincomalee
Town Sector and Monkey Bridge MSR were moved out as reinforcements
.Among them, some troops inducted from 222 Brigade Head Quarter(Kallar)
by helicopter/road and others sent to Navy Dockyard to be inducted into
Muttur Jetty by sea.
4. At 1120 hrs, casualties were evacuated to Naval
Dockyard Trincomalee by Navy craft.
5. Around 1700 hrs, troops moved to Naval Dockyard by
Helicopter from Jaffna.
6. Around 1700 hrs, some of the troops at Naval
Dockyard (referred at para 3 above) were inducted to Muttur Naval
Detachment by sea in order to recapture the fallen eastern flank of the
Muttur Navy Detachment.
7. At 1850 hrs, another contingent moved from Naval
Dockyard by sea to reinforce Muttur Naval Detachment. They reached
Muttur Jetty at 2330 hrs under heavy resistance. But troops made several
counter attacks and repulsed LTTE many assaults.
8. Around 2330 hrs, troops made an attempt to break
out from Muttur Naval Detachment and reinforce Kaddaiparichan
Detachment. Attempt failed due to heavy resistance from the LTTE who
engaged the troops with small arms fire from the Southern /Western
direction (Muttur Town) supported by mortars and artillery. But due to
heavy resistance from the forces with artillery, support arms and small
arms LTTE could not sustain the attacks at Kaddaparichchan.
03 AUG 2006
9. By dawn, troops reached Kaddaiparichan detachment.
This movement was done under cover of darkness. By this time troops
continue to clear terrorist positions and stabilize defences in Muttur
10. Around 1230 hrs, troops deployed in Trincomalee
Town Sector were pulled out and sent to Naval Dockyard to move to Muttur
11. Around 1600 hrs, troops available at Naval
Dockyard were inducted by sea to Muttur Naval Detachment. Meanwhile,
effective air/artillery strikes were launched to Ralkkkuli area to
neutralize identified LTTE heavy machine gun and mortar positions.
Artillery fire was also directed to LTTE assembly areas in Sampoor and
Kaddaparichchan. In the afternoon hours contingent of troops reached the
Muttur police station along the beach.
12. The attack by the LTTE on the Naval detachment at
the Jetty continued but the LTTE could not advance beyond Bravo Point as
the Defense forces with the arrival of Naval command officers and the
army with more men and ammunition on display began barraging LTTE
positions. Furthermore, proper LTTE position communicated with grid
bearings enabled accurate artillery attacks from the bases to be
directed to LTTE positions. However, LTTE continued to hold Bravo Point
but at a point accurate artillery fire stilled their attack due to
precision attacks by the defense forces
13. At 1815 hrs, troops inducted into the Navy
Detachment, moved out and established a link with Kaddaiparichan Army
Detachment. Troops managed to carry little replenishments and returned
to Naval Detachment Muttur as link could not be maintained due to the
heavy interference from the terrorists from the Muttur Town area. LTTE
suffered many casualties due to the effective artillery fire directed
towards the bridge. Troops observed the LTTE evacuating many dead bodies
and wounded at the bridge site. LTTE had understood that they are in the
loosing end of the game and Army is progressing in the battle with
speedy reinforcements. LTTE had started withdrawing towards the Muttur
town area and tried to consolidate the Town. Further, the terrorists had
deployed groups at junction point in the Town covering the routes out of
the Army and Naval Detachment.
14. The main thrust of the LTTE was to Kaddaparichchan
camp, Muttur naval jetty and to the Muttur police station. But, troops
foiled the LTTE attack and dented, by evening the defences of
Kaddaparichchan Army detachment, Muttur Naval detachment at jetty and
police station were stabilized and troops were able to consolidate the
perimeter defences. Camps were in a better position and troops
understood that LTTE cannot continue with the attacks to the Police
station, Naval detachment at jetty or the Kaddaparichchan detachment and
LTTE had to withdraw. Finally, "Gradually the intensity of the LTTE
attacks became feeble as the firepower of the Defense Forces became
superior due to well directed artillery attacks on strategic LTTE
positions and operation of sharpshooters who were hitting LTTE fighters
Attacks from Ralkulli subsided on the police station
with arrival of the troops who consolidated the borders inside and
outside the Police station and the LTTE were at the receiving both at
the jetty and Kaddaparichchan. Late night with the intense barrage of
attacks directed at the LTTE the fire from the LTTE was on the wane yet
the LTTE held positions held formerly in the Mutur town in the several
police posts. It became apparent though LTTE presence was evident their
main fire position were incapacitated by properly directed artillery
04 AUG 06
15. At 1145 hrs, troops advanced from the South (Palathopur)
astride Rd A- 15 and cleared terrorists occupying area Galkanda and
consolidated the area.
16. At 1410 hrs, the armoury and the command bunker in
the Naval Detachment Muttur exploded due to terrorists' mortar fire.
17. Around 1710 hrs, same troops (stated in para 15)
advanced further North of Galkanda.
18. At last light, the troops stated in above Para 17
reached 64 MP Detachment and halted the advance due to terrorist
interference ahead of the Rd A -15 (Northern direction)
05 AUG 06
19. At 0700 hrs, the troops stated in paragraph 17
commenced the advance towards North from 64 MP Detachment to establish a
link with Kaddaiparichan Detachment.
20. At 1130 hrs, troops moved out South and Westwards
from the Police Station and advanced towards East clearing terrorists
holding junction point along the route and was able to establish a link
with Kaddaiparichan Detachment by 1600 hrs,
21. At 1145 hrs, troops reached Kaddaiparichan
Detachment from the South and established the link to reopen the MSR, A
- 15 Rd.
22. By last light troops commenced consolidating
defensive positions and the lines established to maintain the link along
Rd A -15 (Southward to 64 MP Camp - Palatoppur), Police Station
(Westwards) and Kaddaiparichan Detachment with Muttur Jetty/Navy
06 AUG 06
23. At 0800 hrs, troops commenced comprehensive
clearing of Muttur Town.
24. At 1800 hrs, troops completed clearing Muttur Town
and commenced consolidation at Town Police Post and Muttur Jetty.
25. Around 2130 hrs, terrorist attacked the troops
deployed in general area 66 MP. Troops repulsed the attack and regained
control over the situation by first light 07 Aug 06.
Despite the attack being a gross violation of the then
existing ceasefire between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE, the
attention of the whole world was drawn to it as 17 employees of Action
Contre la Faim (ACF), an International Non Governmental Organization
were found killed during the hostilities. The deaths of these aid
workers were soon turned to a propaganda tool against Sri Lanka as many
LTTE sympathizers started kicking it hard to bring discredit to Sri
Lanka Army soldiers.
Since the voice of the propagandists is always heard
louder than the truth, many are still in the dark over the Army's side
of the story. Those soldiers who sacrificed their lives and limbs to
prevent tens and thousands of innocent civilians becoming prisoners of a
ruthless terrorist outfit were certainly competent enough to win the
battle on the ground but not in the propaganda forum. They have been
certainly suppressed by the LTTE propagandists who continue to harp a
fabricated story despite all the evidence available against it.
Defence.lk looked into all the recorded incident reports of the battle
which had been duly compiled at Army Directorate of Operations and in an
attempt to give voice to the voiceless.
The ACF office of Muttur is situated opposite the
Muttur hospital on the same street, and with Muttur hospital coming
under heavy artillery fire from the inception of the confrontations and
it being rendered totally helpless by mid 02 August 2006; it is obvious
that the occupants of the ACF office well and truly understood the
dangers they were faced with as the hospital, their immediate neighbour
was the recipient of LTTE bombardment. It is strange that the ACF
workers did not heed to the calls of the religious clergy when they were
asked to join others in taking refuge in the Churches (Catholic and
Methodist), Mosques and Muslim schools as revealed by the witnesses who
have testified in their evidences to this effect.
This happened because their employers, ACF, according
to the testimony of their relatives at the Commission, were ordered not
to move away from the premises of the ACF office at Mutur. Further,
having two vehicles at their disposal within their compound itself,
along with two drivers in the staff, it is obvious that they did not
leave the complex due to orders from their higher Headquarter located in
Trincomalee Town. The church carried their refugees in a tractor and the
Red Cross in a van while the ACF held their workers captive in their
office notwithstanding the availability of several vehicles. It is now a
known fact after recording evidence that the relatives of some of the
deceased ACF workers have been denied the opportunity of evacuating, as
requested by their relatives, by the newly appointed French Head of the
Mission of ACF local office in Trincomalee at the time, who was ignorant
of the ground situation prevalent in Muttur Town or of events in Sri
Infact, a Christian priest who gave evidence before
the Commission of Inquiry claimed that he had advised and in fact
insisted that the 17 workers find shelter in his church, where many
other refugees had gathered. They had categorically informed him that
they were instructed by their Trincomalee office to stay in the Muttur
ACF office. Had the 17 aid workers heeded the advice of the clergy they
would have most probably been alive today.
The finding of the SLMM and of the JMO and all other
medical and forensic determinations specifies the time of the death of
the 17 aid workers to have occurred "before 7.00 AM on 04 August 2006".
Therefore the deaths could have occurred in early morning hours of 04
August 2006 at which point of time the LTTE was in full control of the
This fact is also reinforced by the web article
published by the Tamil Net datelined Tuesday, 08 August 2006, 11:36 GMT
which specifies that the LTTE were in control of Muttur Town at the
Further, the evidence quotes that the deceased ACF
workers were asked to remain at the office compound itself without
seeking refuge elsewhere, by the officials of ACF office located in
Trincomalee Town, as testified by their relatives at the Commission.
These evidences along with the time lines clearly indicate that the
killing has been carried out by the LTTE at the time they were in total
control in Muttur Town with the intention of discrediting the Sri Lanka
Army, and to take cover to hide their reversals and create a human
rights situation and foster it on the Defence Forces. The LTTE suffered
reversals at Muttur and Mavil Aru and to gain some mileage in
desperation, they eliminated the aid workers to create a human rights
situation. It is the LTTE, an internationally recognized terrorist
organization, who has been killing civilians to achieve their brutal
objectives for the last 30 years.
Therefore, the killing of the 17 workers is not an
unusual characteristic and LTTE has achieved their objective as they
have made it an issue for the international community. But the evidence
at the Commission has made them to suffer egg in their face. Let the
whole truth emerge and we can watch how spin masters of the
international community will then resort to. It is an interesting
pastime to watch such characters in action. They succeed only in