Over 150000 voters cast their votes today in a key election in the Eastern province , marking the beginning of another decisive phase of the conflict in Sri Lanka. According to officials, 50-60% of registered voters in the Eastern province have cast their vote in this crucial election.
Military Intelligence had previously warned the government of LTTE plans to disrupt the proceedings of the election. According to MI reports, LTTE had deployed at least four cadres from its Black tiger regiment (suicide bombers) to target VIP movements of LTTE's rival factions in the area. Confirming these reports, one suicide bomber detonated an explosive laden jacket in Batticaloa on the 24th of February killing two members of the breakaway Pilleyan faction. Pilleyan himself is in LTTE's most wanted list due to his desertion in 2003.
Image: Pilleyan on his way to cast his vote. Three of his bodyguards can be seen in the background. Photo: Daily Mirror
Although LTTE attacks were anticipated, the polls have been concluded peacefully, apart from few minor incidents in Valachchenei area. Final election results are yet to be released. You can listen to election results online through Lakhanda Radio Web Cast
Meanwhile in a separate development in the Eastern province, police commandos of the Special Task Force (STF) gunned down three LTTE cadres in Kanchikudichciaru jungles. Two T-56 rifles, 1 AP mine and 1 claymore mine were among the weapons recovered by STF after the incident. Although LTTE bases in Ampara fell to the STF during operation Niyathai Jaya, pockets of LTTE cadres who fled the fighting are reportedly present in the dense jungles of Kanchikudichciaru.