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 Post subject: Blast that killed General Kobbekaduwa and others -
 Post Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 9:13 am 
Blast that killed General Kobbekaduwa and others - August 8, 1992

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On August 8, 1992 Maj. General Kobbekaduwa, General Officer Commanding Northern Sector, Brigadier (posthumously Major General) Vijaya Wimalaratne, Jaffna Brigade Commander and Commodore (posthumously Rear Admiral) Mohan Jayamaha, Commander Northern Naval Area were killed when the Land Rover they were traveling in was destroyed by a land mine blast. Seven others were killed in the including Lt. Colonels G.H. Ariyaratne, A. Palipahana, H.R. Stephen, all three battalion commanders and Major N.S. De Alwis, General Kobbekaduwa's ADC.

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They were planning an offensive code named "Operation Final Countdown" to liberate the northern peninsula from the LTTE, which was to be launched shortly. The final decision was delayed until they could reconnoiter in a particular area to finalise troop movements, which required a visit to Araly point the next day. As they were returning to be taken back to the base by helicopter, the incident occurred. It has been claimed that it was an assignation which had be carried out by the LTTE by Jane's Information Group.

The explosion occurred at 10 a.m.

An explosion was heard by two Majors who were watching the Land Rover jeep in which the three military leaders were traveling. Majors Rupasinghe and Induruwa were 400 yards away from the jeep. When they came running up, they found that except for two persons, the others, whose bodies were mutilated, had died instantaneously.

The intact bodies of Lt. General Kobbekaduwa and Rear Admiral Jayamaha were loaded onto the waiting helicopter, which took off immediately to SLAF Palaly (Palyala) where the Rear Admiral was pronounced dead. Though he was mortally wounded, Kobbekaduwa had said "I’m all right, see what can be done to the others.." As the doctors were unable to do more for him at Palaly, Maj. General Kobbekaduwa was brought to Colombo where a team of leading specialists battled to save his life, but were unsuccessful. Kobbekaduwa was promoted to Lieutenant General.

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In the shocking aftermath of his death, there were many questions raised about the explosion that killed him and the nine others on August 8, 1992. Why did all the officers travel in one jeep? How did the enemy get tipped off about the top secret travel plans? Was the explosion meant to target only the major general, although it managed to get them all in a queer twist of fate that made them all travel in one vehicle, despite the three jeeps assigned for the trip? A one-man commission comprising former Supreme Court Judge, I. Ismail was appointed to look into the killing, although after a storm of controversy, little came of the report.



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 Post subject: AP News Report on Blast
 Post Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 9:24 am 
AP News Report on Blast
Blast Kills Sri Lanka General -- Land Mine Explodes Under Military Vehicle

Sunday, August 9, 1992 - Page updated at 12:00 AM
Copyright (c) 1992 Seattle Times Company /AP


COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The general leading the war against Tamil separatists was killed yesterday along with nine other top military officers when their vehicle was blown up by a land mine.

The deaths dealt a potentially severe blow to the military's morale, which recently had been boosted by a series of victories over the the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

A London-based spokesman for the Tigers, Lawrence Thilakar, claimed responsibility for the blast. But it was not clear whether the land mine was specifically intended to kill the officers, or was left over from an earlier campaign.

The Defense Ministry issued a statement asking the public to remain calm.

"This is a big shock to the military," said former Air Vice Marshal Harry Goonatilleke.

The explosion occurred on Kayts Island, which government forces retook from the Tigers in November. The island is a few miles from the Jaffna Peninsula, the center of the Tamil insurgency.

Those killed included Maj. Gen. Denzil Kobbekaduwa, commander of the anti-separatist war, and Brig. Gen. Vijaya Wimalaratne, the government commander in northern Sri Lanka. Wimalaratne led the forces that retook Kayts Island.

Kobbekaduwa was to have become the army chief in January and had been part of the government's offensive against Tiger rebels since it began in 1983.

Dayan Jayatilleke, a political analyst, said: "The loss may not be an irreversible strategical gain for the Tigers, but certainly at this moment, the balance of forces stands altered."

The land mine exploded under the officers' jeep as they were driving to a helicopter to fly back to the Jaffna Peninsula after a tour of the island.

At least 17,000 people have been killed since the fighting began in 1983 - 7,000 of them since severe fighting resumed in June 1990.

Tamils make up 18 percent of Sri Lanka's 17 million people. They complain they are discriminated against by the majority Sinhalese, who account for 75 percent of the population and control the government and the military.


Copyright (c) 1992 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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