A True Son of the Nation - In Remembrance of Col. Tuan Nizam Muthaliff

by Tinty Nasser Muthaliff 

“This nation will remain the land of the free, only so long as it is the home of the brave.” -Elmer Davis.

He was one of the most feared of by the LTTE terrorists, and the most senior officer victimized by the Great Betrayal of Sri Lankan history, the infamous Millennium City incident, 2002.

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived. — General George S. Patton (US Army WW-II)

He sent shocks to the very core of the LTTE. The terrorists somehow knew that their top ranks are in grave danger. Someone was after them; a ghost, a demon, a zombie, who knows who! The LTTE leaders were stuck in fear when S. P. Thamilselvan’s vehicle was attacked, when their colonels Karuna, Jeyam and Balraj were targeted, and when their colonels Charles and Cheliyan were killed in ambush, and all those happened in LTTE controlled areas! Known to only a very few individuals in the country, the Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol, or in other words, the Demon Brigade, a black ops unit of Sri Lanka Army was pursuing the LTTE terrorist leaders. Major Tuan Nizam Muthaliff was their commander. He was leading the 1st Battalion of Sri Lanka Army Military Intelligence Corps, the most feared, against the terrorists.

Tuan Nizam Muthaliff was born in 1966, and he was an old boy of D. S. Senanayake College, Colombo. As far back as in 1986, when young Nizam was 20 years and working at Hotel Triton, Ahungalla as a Receptionist, he was selected to join the Army. His initial training was at the Military Academy, Diyatalawa. After the successful completion of the training in 1987, he started his military career by joining the Operation Wadamarachchi as an Intelligence Officer, and completed a number of very successful Intelligence operations. Consequently, he was selected to attend the Officers’ Training in Pakistan. There his exceptional performance won him the opportunity to dine with General Zia-ul-Haq, the President of Pakistan that time. At the end of the training he received the BEST CADET award out of many officers from different countries. 

His duty in the Eastern Province was a remarkable period. He numbered the days of many LTTE terrorists during that time. Those were the days of the demon to the LTTE terrorists in the Eastern Province. Every night that was passed, was considered a gift by the LTTE cadres. Because Muthaliff was out there in the darkness! He was with his team, looking for terrorists, and bringing them down one by one; about 10 to 15 each night. He would say to his colleagues in the camp not to try to look for him if he was found missing in the nights. “I’ll be back!”, he would say, when he disappears in to the darkness; and in the early morning twilight he returns to tell his colleagues in the camp where and where to collect the terrorist corpses. A cold wave of panic swept across the LTTE. Terrorist leaders froze just by hearing the name of Major Muthaliff.

A remarkable breakthrough in Major Muthaliff’s career was arresting the suicide-bomber who was sent by LTTE to kill him. He not only arrested the terrorist, but also turned the guy gradually into an anti-terrorist and got him to carry out attacks against the LTTE. Major Muthaliff became the Head of Military Intelligence at Vavuniya in 1999. His reconnaissance operations penetrated deep into the defenses of the terrorists like the rays of the sun cutting through the darkness, and began attacking the LTTE elites in their own camps. Senior Sea-Tiger commander Gangai Amaran (killed at Mullaitivu, 1990), and the founder and leader of LTTE air wing Vaithilingam Sornalingam alias Colonal Shankar (killed at Oddusuddan, 2001) were brought down by the LRRP attacks lead by Major Muthaliff. He took war right into the Tiger’s living room!

When the renegade DIG Kulasiri Udugampola exposed the safe house of LRRP located at the Millennium City housing scheme, Athurugiriya, the LTTE started a massive manhunt killing almost all members of the Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol including its informers. Many of Muthaliff’s friends and well-wishers offered to take him and his family to another country, considering the safety of his life. But the Major refused them all. “If we leave the country now, our children too would have to go to war!”, was his answer. Due to the inevitable threat to his life, he was transferred from Vavuniya to Colombo in 2004. On the fateful morning of 31st May 2005 he was on his way to duty, when the fatal attack on him was carried out by the LTTE at Polhengoda Junction. Major Tuan Nizam Muthaliff laid his life down for the motherland.