“THE MILLENIUM CITY RAID”
Posted on May 25th, 2016

KAMALIKA PIERIS

The Sri Lanka army had a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol Unit (LRRP)    known also as the Deep Penetration Unit. It functioned under the Directorate of Military intelligence (DMI). The LLRP was engaged in high risk,  undercover operations, carried out behind enemy lines. It was a very important activity. Operations were carried out by Commandos and Special Forces regiments. Many were volunteers  who were aware of the risks they were taking.  The centre of operations was at Batticaloa and the commanding officer was Captain S. H. Nilam supported by Major T. N. Muthalif.  LLRP also got support from ex LTTE cadres,   anti-LTTE Tamil groups and members of the public. They were brought into the operation when necessary. V. Vidyarthan (‘Mike’) coordinated a network of operatives and informants, in Batticaloa and Ampara districts, which included former LTTE cadres. He worked directly with Captain Nilam.

The LRRP hit squads    carried out   target killings. The plan was to have a sustained assassination campaign, ‘something we had never tried out before’. This would have had a serious impact on the LTTE if it had continued. The squads were trained at the Panaluwa Test firing range  Operations were carried out by small groups who went in and out of enemy territory, using jungle routes, seeking their targets. The groups stayed in safe houses or camped in the jungles until they were ready to take their target. . When entering LTTE held territory they wore LTTE uniforms. ‘We had about 100 LTTE uniforms’.  The names of operatives was kept secret. This was essential. Operatives mostly worked on their own They had their own arsenals, with a range of weapons, including claymore mines. These groups carried out several successful under cover operations. They assassinated several high profile LTTE commanders   inside LTTE territory. They killed  senior sea tiger commander Amaran, Batticaloa District intelligence head Nizam, artillery specialist Sathiyaseelan,   ‘Mano Master’  ‘Kelly’  ‘Jeevan,’ Karikalan, Swarnaseelan and Devadas.

The Directorate maintained a safe house for the LLRP in the Millennium City housing scheme, at Athurugiriya, Colombo. The LLRP had initially been housed at the Kohuwala Army Camp, but was relocated to Athurugiriya in December 2001. Immediately after winning the December 2001 elections, the UNP government announced that the army was planning to assassinate UNP leaders, including Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe  and the centre of operations was the Millennium City house. They wanted the house investigated. On 2 January 2002, a special team of Sri Lanka Police led by SP Kulasiri Udugampola raided the place  and arrested Capt Nilam, corporal Hilmy, several Sinhala officers and a suspected LTTE operative. These peratives   had returned to Colombo on orders. They were arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act since the police did not have a court order or warrant.

The director of the DMI and the Army Commander contacted the IGP and asked him to call off the raid. Despite the requests made by his superiors and the protests of the army, SP Udugampola, took the soldiers into custody, seized the stock of weapons and drove to the Military Police Headquarters in Narahenpita.  He immediately contacted the media  and a ‘vehicle load of journalists’    were shown the weapons. The soldiers were taken away  and interrogated  at Katugastota Police Station. They were humiliated and ‘treated like criminals’. They were held for nearly two weeks. They were released on the orders of Defence Minister Tilak Marapana, who expressed outrage over the police raid.

A Commission of Inquiry was   appointed to look into the raid. The Commission said that the raid had seriously compromised national security. It was “total betrayal and absolute treachery.”  Udugampola’s actions were “illegal and immoral”. The report also included a list of officers of the police and army responsible for the incident. The IGP set up a special investigation into the actions of Udugampola and the other police officers. Udugampola was demoted to the rank of ASP. In March 2005, Udugampola was interdicted and arrested.  A Supreme Court judgment delivered in January 2004 stated that the fundamental rights of the soldiers had been violated and ordered ASP Udugampola to pay a sum of Rs. 50,000 LKR each to five of the LRRP operatives. The State was ordered to pay Rs. 750,000 each to them as well.  The raid clearly would not have been possible without support from an influential section of the army.   A previous commander of the Military Intelligence Corps (MIC) Colombo who had made attempts to obtain the address of the safe house was asked to resign. Action was also taken against several other army officers. The most senior officers were ordered to retire.

The Army Commander, under the direction of the Defence Minister, had also appointed a Court of Inquiry to investigate the activities of the LRRP. The court held that the LLRP activities were legitimate and their weapons had been obtained through legitimate means. It was alleged that thermo baric weapons had been brought from the Army’s operational areas in the North to the Panaluwa Army testing range, in-order to use them at a UNP election meeting. This allegation was proved to be false.

Thanks to the raid the safe house cover was blown.  A top secret covert operation now became public knowledge. A vital operation which   had exerted much pressure on the LTTE and capable of crushing the LTTE was aborted. The names of those working in the unit became known, leading to the killing of many informants and civilians who had assisted the LLRP. The raid seemed to have been done at the insistence of the LTTE who saw that the LLRP was becoming a threat. The raid showed political support. It was based on a bogus accusation. It took place before the CFA was signed in 2002    Shamindra Ferdinando notes that full extent of the damage cause by the Millennium City raid has not been fully assessed even after a decade.

The ‘Ceasefire Agreement’ put a stop to undercover work. LTTE had pushed for a clause prohibiting the entry of deep penetration units into LTTE areas. It was only when the CFA became public that the army got to know this.. Operations behind the LTTE lines were thereafter suspended and LRRP activities came to a stop. As the army ceased its operation the LTTE launched theirs. Army officers who had infiltrated the LTTE controlled areas and executed vitally important operations  were hunted down by the LTTE and killed. Captain Nilam and his family disappeared from Indonesia where they had been sent for safety. Lt Col Muthalif was killed

LTTE unleashed a series of killings in the eastern province and Colombo. About 50 military personnel and information were eliminated. Suresh, who had played a pivotal role, was killed   at Kalubowila. The army looked after his children till they were handed over to the mother. In Batticaloa, over 80 Tamil informants and intelligence officers were   killed, including Mike. LTTE Intelligence chief, Pottu Amman personally traveled to Batticaloa to oversea this.. The military could do nothing because of the CFA. The government did not try to stop the LTTE either, saying it would affect the CFA.

In 2006, Eelam War IV started, CFA was cancelled and LRRP resumed its activities.  It re- developed its capability for conducting operations behind enemy lines. These operations restricted the movements of the senior LTTE cadres. When the army set up multiple fronts in Vanni, the LRRP had more room in which to operate. They launched attacks against LTTE leaders. They killed Charles, head of the LTTE military intelligence and Cheliyan , deputy leader of the Sea Tigers. The killing of Shankar, who was in charge of the east, at an early stage of the War, stunned the LTTE.

5 Responses to ““THE MILLENIUM CITY RAID””

  1. Dilrook Says:

    Thank you Kamalika for excellent and well researched articles.

    Although the Millennium City is a nasty act of betrayal, personnel concerned were not imprisoned for long. The UNP regime and the then defence secretary Austin Fernando must take responsibility for the deaths of operatives and informants.

    On the other hand, STF and army personnel that engaged terrorists head on were imprisoned over the Sunil Rathnayaka case (2000), Trincomalee killings (arrested in 2012) and MSF case (arrested in 2012) without regard to the circumstances. A very senior presidential advisor and minister stated it was the STF that carried out the MSF attack in 2006 to the then US ambassador Robert Blake. This was recorded in US secret cables released by Wikileaks.

    These idiotic acts have not just destroyed the lives of some of our best heroes and their families, but also demoralised and demonised the army in the face of a hostile international community. We kicked own goals even without Channel 4 or anyone implicating us.

    Another foolish act was the dismantling of “LLRP” units in 2010 as they took instructions directly from the army commander during the war. Due to this a natural respect developed for the superior which was loathed by certain politicians. Over 50 military officers (29 seniors and 22 soldiers, some from LLRP operations) were demoted and sent on compulsory leave in March 2010 for being too close to the army commander.

    More care should have been exercised given the sacrifices they made for the nation irrespective of their political affiliation. All of them were reinstated briefly in active service before retiring them again in 2015 but the damage was done.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    Dilrook,

    LRRP soldiers were not only demoted but have been sentenced to death.

    Please visit RanaViruFund.org to read about the fate that awaits Sgt. Gamini Ratnayake of the LRRP.

    While he awaits execution, the Yamapalana Govt cut off the benefits to his wife and infant daughter who are now destitute.

    How can our leaders be so heartless!
    There is a special place in HELL reserved just for them!

    Patriots, go and make a donation to these Ranaviruwos at Ranavirufund.org site if only to make amends for the actions of our Sinhala Yamapalana-traitors.

  3. Dilrook Says:

    Thanks Ananda. Appreciate the good work you do.

  4. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    Catholic traitor chief pol pot ponil wickramasinhalakiller wanted to expedite creation of catholic tigers tamil drealam.
    After giving half the country to his catholic buddy hitler pira(mala)paharan he wanted to break up Sri Lanka
    asap. So to expedite the cause, he grassed the millennium city officers. Who cares? Catholic-run UNPatriotic
    party sacrificing Sinhalese lives by 1000s to please the catholic west and the diasporats.

    Contrast their action against Buddhist jvpers. They were burnt in tyres, tortured in camps like Batalande.
    All those for being 99% Buddhist and 1% jvp. Sirima B put down the insurgency within 2 wks and rounded
    up all the misled youths, rehabilitated and released back to the society. But the catholic-run UNPatriotic party
    saw this as a tool to destroy the Buddhist population and massacred more than 50,000 Sinhalese. Then they
    sacrificed more than 100,000 Sinhalese by dragging the war for 30 long years. Sinhala modayas never paused.
    Never questioned why. Since alugosu adarmistaya (to Sinhalese only) thambi mudiyanse and lk porisada were
    Sinhalese. What Sinhala modaya didn’t understand was they were taking orders from the catholic west who
    wants to establish a catholic country in Sri Lanka. So they happily destroyed the Sinhalese population. Then again,
    it was Sinhalese who don’t have anybody to help in their own country. All the Sinhalese deshapaluwan remember
    them only during election time.

    Sinhala modayas never questioned why catholic tigers of tamil drealam never attacked a church or never harmed
    a priest. They never questioned why staunchly catholic countries like norway, uk, us, canada 100% supported
    the terrorist outfit. Catholic tigers attacked Sri Maha Bodhi, Sri Dalada Maligawa and hacked Buddhist monks in
    Aranthalawa. Still catholic-run UNPatriotic party didn’t want to do anything. Sinhala modayas still didn’t see these
    Sinhalese-destroying, Buddhism-destroying, Sri Lanka breaking up traitors true colours. Remember lk porisadaya
    sent 600 policement to ltte bullet. Remember how brutal (to Sinhalese only) those alugosu thambi mudiyanse, lk porisadaya, pol pot ponil wickramasinhalakiller. To this date there is nobody uttering a word for them. No no jvp (jaathiya vinashakarana party), no UNHCR,
    no banki moon, no noway, no uk, no nothing. They died horrible horrible deaths in these alugosuwans’ hands.
    Still one big lie from these Buddhism-destroying, Sinhalese-murdering, Sri Lanka destroying UNPatriotic party
    traitors, Sinhala modayas will vote with their feet. We have seen just one year how much mayhem these murderous gang
    have caused. Remember Soma thero. We all know what happened. But nobody asked from the UNPatriotic
    party. When you have people like Tibbotte supporting these Buddhism-destroying party, what chance for the
    Sinhalese, Buddhism and Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka. No wonder they call us Sinhalaya modayas!

    Some good topics for the Sinhala modayas to Google.
    Google who killed Soma Thero.
    Google ltte’s christian connections.

    Also pause for a moment and think pol pot ponil wickramasinhalakiller’s appointments.
    austin fernando governor eastern province
    reginald cooray governor northern province
    mahendran governor central bank
    army chief
    police minister his right hand john mara minister of permanent erection
    digital minister (A H) harin Pxxx baloon etc. etc.
    Can you see the connection Sinhala modayas? Pol pot ponil couldn’t find a Buddhist for any of these posts.
    Vairapala sorrysena fast asleep while Sinhalaya becoming the doormat in Sri Lanka and worldwide.
    Buddhist Sri Lanka? Of course on paper!

  5. nilwala Says:

    Thank you Kamalika for your well researched articles that keep the history of both ancient and recent Sri Lankan history before us LEST WE FORGET.
    The Millenium City events show up the way things were done…and are continuing to be done to damage/destroy this nation and the civilization they built over the centuries.

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