Thoppigala to be open to the public

The military is to re-open Thoppigala, also known as the Barons Cap, to the public. The area was once under LTTE occupation and was later under the control of the Karuna group.

Military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that most parts of the area will be converted into a tourist zone with camping sites, eastern heritage centers and a study center on unique flora and fauna of the east.

He also said that a monument will be constructed in the area to remember the army, navy and air force personnel killed during the military operations against the LTTE in the east.

Thopigala was the last rebel bastion to fall during military operations to regain the entire eastern part of the country.

The location was also used by the rebels to attack a helicopter carrying a group of diplomats heading to the east on an inspection tour. Three envoys were injured in the attack.

In January 2007 the Karuna faction overran three LTTE camps in Thoppigala killing at least 35 LTTE members in one of the biggest attacks by the paramilitaries at the time.

About 200 members of the renegade group, led by former Tiger eastern commander Karuna Amman, attacked the camps in Toppigala.

The army later in 2007 declared that the entire east was regained from the rebels with the capture of Thopligala. (Colombo Gazette)