By Norman Palihawadane and Hemantha Randunu
Police have, with the help of information elicited from former LTTE cadres nabbed in the aftermath of recent attacks on police and security forces in the North, uncovered clues of a well-established terror network operating in Colombo.
Police had busted two cells of the network at Mattakkuliya and Pettah and nabbed three cadres including a top leader of the Aava Group known as Sathyavel Nathan Nishanthan alias Nisha Victor, Police Media Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekera said.
Three other suspects of the same group had been taken into custody in Kilinochchi with two swords and a motorcycle, a senior police officer in Jaffna told The Island.
SP Gunasekara said Nisha Victor, who was also the main suspect in the recent attack on two police officers at Kopai, had been taken into custody by the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID). All six were suspects of Kopai attack, the police spokesman said.
With the increased arrests and intensified STF operations in the North several leading figures of Ava group had fled to the Southern provinces, police said. The group have safe houses and cells in Colombo and suburbs, according to police.
Thirty eight persons wanted in connection with a spate of recent incidents in the Jaffna peninsula were arrested during an operation spearheaded by the STF with the help of the police. The operation which was said to be the largest coordinated action conducted in Jaffna since the change of government in January 2015 started at midnight on Friday and lasted till 8 am yesterday.
On the instructions of STF headquarters, Colombo, the police commandos carried out comprehensive security operation covering Jaffna, Chunnakam, Kopai, Manipay, Nelliady and Point Pedro police areas.
In addition to 38 suspects, commandos had taken into custody 17 motorcycles, seven tipper trucks and detected 15 traffic offences and one case of illegal transport of cattle. One person had been arrested in connection with illegal transportation of cattle, the official said.
Mobs went on the rampage in the second week of July after police fired at a vehicle that ignored signal to stop. Police action resulted in the death of 24-year-old youth identified as Dinesh. The mob caused damage to the house of one of the policemen involved in the shooting and attacked police posts in the area.
In March this year, police arrested three members of the Aava Group including one of the leading figures known as Dhananjayan from Kotahena and Dehiwela. With that arrest the police ascertained information about the Aava Group shifting its operations to Colombo. The group had obtained protection money from wealthy Tamil businessmen in Colombo, police said. A hand grenade, three swords and an axe found in the possession of the suspects were also taken into custody by police.