Sri Lankan Navy Tuesday (March 27) dumped in sea several bullet proof vehicles, including an LTTE ship, used by former presidents during the three-decade long civil war to prevent them from falling into â€œwrong handsâ€. The vehicles, including one used by Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan, the former LTTE deputy leader who later became a politician, were dumped in the deep sea area off the western coast and destroyed last morning, the Navy said.
It said the vehicles used by Presidents JR Jayawardene, Ranasinghe Premadasa, Chandrika Kumaratunga and Mahinda Rajapaksa were sunk after dismantling their communication equipment. The move was to prevent them from falling into â€œwrong handsâ€ if they were disposed of through public auctions, it added.
Armored vehicles became part of politiciansâ€™ retinue due to LTTEâ€™s feared suicide squads. They allegedly assassinated several top leaders through suicide attacks, including Premadasa who was President between 1989 to 1993. Kumaratunga, the President between 1994 and 2005, survived an assassination attempt carried out by the suicide squad while suffering severe eye injuries. The Navy had also sunk an LTTE ship used to transport their arms supplies from Indonesia, the Navy said.
The ship, which belonged to the LTTE fleet previously, was taken control of by the Navy in Malaysia and brought back to Colombo. According to the government figures, around 20,000 people are missing due to various conflicts including the 30-year- long separatist war with Lankan Tamils in the north and east which claimed at least 100,000 lives.
The LTTE, which led the war for a separate Tamil homeland, was finally crushed by the Lankan military in 2009 with the death of its supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran.