Archive for July, 2008

The Q Branch police, dealing with cases of extremism and terrorism, had arrested a top functionary of the proscribed Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the city last night.

Acting on specific Intelligence, the Q branch sleuths arrested J Thambi Annan alias Daniel (46), hailing from Kilinochchi in Sri Lanka.

Describing the arrest as a “significant and important catch”, top police officials said Daniel, a Sri Lankan National, was heading the LTTE”s procurement module and has been in the top of the outfit’s hierarchy.

Daniel has been the pivot in procuring major consignments, including explosive substances, for the LTTE from India and other parts of the world. He was also involved in the attempts to smuggle consignments of aluminium ingots and ball bearings, which were seized by the police in Ramanathapuram and Madurai districts recently.

The Q branch police would soon move a court to take him into their custody to trace the roots of network supply in the State to the banned outfit.


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Sri Lanka Air Force MI-24 helicopter gun ships launched a close air support mission targeting LTTE defences in 1Km west of Wellankulam junction, Mannar front, today, July 31.

The Air Force spokesperson, Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara, speaking to the defence.lk said that the air raid was launched around 11.30 a.m to assist the ground troops of Task Force1 engaged in offensive march in Mannar front.

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The Sri Lankan army launched a wave of attacks against Tamil Tiger separatists in the north, sparking battles that killed 24 rebels and one soldier, the military said Thursday.

The new fighting came as officials from eight South Asian nations gathered in Colombo for a regional conference that is to culminate in a top-level summit this weekend.

The Tamil Tigers offered a cease-fire beginning last Saturday because of the conference, but the government rejected it as a ploy by the rebels to gain time to regroup after several recent battlefield losses.

A rebel attack near Colombo during the summit would be deeply embarrassing for the government, which has sealed off roads across the capital and sent 19,000 troops and soldiers onto the streets to prevent any bombings.

At the same time, troops have launched a series of attacks on the rebels’ de facto state in the north in recent days.

Fighting raged throughout Wednesday in the Welioya and Vavuniya regions along the front lines, the military said in a statement.

Troops attacked a rebel bunker line in one battle that lasted 11 hours and killed seven rebels, the military said. The military also attacked the Kattikulam area Wednesday, killing six rebels, the military said.

Another 11 rebels and one soldier were killed in scattered battles, the military said.

Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan was not immediately available for comment. Both sides routinely exaggerate enemy casualties and underreport their own. Independent verification of the fighting is not possible because journalists are barred from the war zone.

The summit of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation is scheduled to bring together the heads of government of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The Tamil rebels have been fighting for an independent state in the north and east since 1983, following decades of marginalization by governments dominated by the Sinhalese majority. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

Fighting escalated in recent months after the government vowed to crush the rebels by the end of the year.

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At least 7 LTTE fighters were killed in fighting that ensued between the Sri Lanka army and the LTTE yesterday, in Palamoddai region. 8 bunkers built by the LTTE in the are have been overrun by the troops. 58 division infantry units moved into LTTE held territory moments after a heavy artillery barrage pounded the area.

Meanwhile the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) flew a bombing sorties on an LTTE position after nearly a week long silence. The target was a suicide bomber training facility in Thirivaiaru, located 3 kilometers south east of Kilinochchi. You can download the UAV footage of the bombing from here (Source: defence.lk)

In other news another LTTE operative was arrested in Indian by the Thamil Nadu police intelligence unit. The LTTE cadres, identified as “Thambianna” is supposed to be a key figure in LTTE’s supply network in Thamil Nadu. Five Yamaha 40HP boat engines ready to be sent to Sri Lanka were also captured by the police. Similar engines are frequently used by the sea tigers to power their medium sized craft.

(Defence Net)

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Sri Lankan officials claim to be on the verge of ending a decades long civil war.

Early this month, Sri Lankan officials claimed that the civil war that has been ongoing since 1983 finally has an end in sight. For twenty-five years the government of Sri Lanka has been embroiled in one of the bloodiest civil conflicts in the world. Their enemy, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has been touted “the most dangerous and deadly extremist group in the world” by the FBI.

However, the government’s recent offensive surges into the LTTE controlled northeastern region of the country have paid dividends. Officials say that the military has assumed control of all eastern territories for the first time in 14 years and have pushed the majority of LTTE forces northward. The LTTE holds the north much more tightly than it did the more stratified east and most agree that the violence is sure to escalate before any resolution can be achieved.

As an armed militia the LTTE has demonstrated impressive staying power. Despite their strikingly small numbers with estimates ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 fighters – many of them children recruits – they have repeatedly been able to repel government attempts to quell their rebellion.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has expressed his concerns that without formal negotiations with the LTTE to end the conflict a military victory alone will not be enough to stop the fighting, citing the LTTE’s utilization of terror tactics and their ability to blend into society where they are just as able to cause havoc posing as civilians.

The aggressive surge however, is not bound to stop any time soon. With such success as experienced in the past months the Sri Lankan military has no intention on scaling back suggesting that within a year the Tigers will be driven out of their existing northern sanctuaries.

Born of an ethnic conflict between the Buddhist majority Sinhalese and the Hindu Tamil minority, the civil war in Sri Lanka has raged rather inconspicuously for more than two decades while capturing little press coverage here in the West.

The Tamils are an ethnic group found both in south India and indigenously in the north and east of Sri Lanka. Tensions have been present between the two groups since colonial times when the Tamils were given preferential treatment by the ruling British. After gaining its independence in 1948, Sri Lanka, then called Ceylon, was left in the hands of its Sinhalese ethnic majority, shifting the dynamics of power on the Island.

In the ensuing decades, zeal for Sinhalese nationalism inspired a rash of discriminatory measures, which were successful in alienating the Tamil population. Along with other policies of favoritism, in 1956 Sinhala was declared the country’s official language. The country’s name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972 and Buddhism was established as the state’s primary religion. Dissidence was widespread and violent skirmishes between Tamils and Sinhalese authorities were not uncommon during this period.

It was in the 1970s that the plea began to be made for the creation of Tamil Eelam, a separate state created out of the regions in Sri Lanka’s north and east traditionally settled by Tamils. From this separatist movement came groups such as the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) and the more radical Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The conflict between the Sinhalese government and Tamil separatists came to a head when on 23 July 1983 a Sinhalese military convoy was ambushed by LTTE militants in the outskirts of the northern town of Jaffna leaving 13 soldiers dead. Riots broke out throughout the capital city of Colombo as word spread of the killings. Soon, towns and villages across Sri Lanka were caught up in the violent backlash targeting Tamils. An estimated 2,500 Tamils were killed in the few short days that followed the attack on the convoy. Tens of thousands were left homeless and nearly 100,000 fled to India for asylum. The Sinhalese government and military were accused of standing idle while the chaos was taking place.

Following the riots, the Tamil Tigers declared war on the Sri Lankan government. Since July 1983, this conflict has cost the lives of an estimated 215,000 people including at least 70,000 civilians. It has been made infamous by the levels of brutality utilized by both sides.

The Tamil Tigers have used suicide bombings attacks almost indiscriminately, reportedly carrying out over 200 since 1983, more than any other militant organization. They have also claimed responsibility for the assassinations of a number of Sri Lankan officials. The Sri Lankan military has detained large numbers of Tamils with no ground. Many of those arrested are never seen again. The list of atrocities goes on.

In 2002, a Norwegian-mediated ceasefire between the Tigers and the government was brokered. The violence however never subsided, with both groups being accused by the other of violating the agreement on numerous occasions. In January 2008, after escalating violence, the government pulled out of the ceasefire agreement and began its blitz in the east. They now claim to be on the verge of victory.

The LTTE has recently proposed a ceasefire while the heads of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, and the Maldives converge on Colombo for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit taking place from 26 July to 6 August. The Tigers claim to be in support of the conference and hopeful that nothing will interfere with its success.

The government of Sri Lanka has refused to acknowledge the proposed ceasefire citing instances in the past when such deals were made at times when the Tigers were vulnerable and in need of time to regroup. The military says that the gesture for peace holds little sincerity and that they will continue pursuing the Tigers in the north as they feel that this war may soon come to an end.

(ISN Security Watch)

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A top LTTE operative, in-charge of the procurement module in Sri Lanka, was arrested in Chennai yesterday, police said.The Q-branch, the intelligence wing of the Tamil Nadu police, today arrested Thambianna (46), who was “in-charge of the LTTE’s procurement module” in Sri Lanka.Police said Thambianna hailed from Kilinochchi.

However, police remained tight-lipped about where in the city Thambianna was arrested and declined to elaborate.

Last week the Q Branch of the Tamil Nadu police busted a major LTTE procurement network when it arrested three persons (including a Sri Lankan) from Manalmelkudi in the Pudukottai district of Tamil Nadu.

The three arrested persons were Kumargurubaran (28) a resident of Chennai, Ramesh (37) hailing from Ramanathapuram, and Manamohan (28) from Pesalai, Sri Lanka.

According to the police, Manamohan was the key player in this procurement network, coordinating the operation.

“He (Manamohan) arranged the payments and coordinated the procurement. The seized items are worth around Rs. 7 lakhs in the

market,” a police official said and added that Ramesh had a string of cases against him relating to smuggling goods to Sri Lanka.

Five imported 40 horse power Yamaha outboard motors, were seized from the trio. The motors were to be transported to Sri Lanka for the LTTE.

These outboard motors are used to convert conventional boats into high-speed boats. The Sea Tigers use them in their strike boats.

The law enforcement agencies have increased their vigil in Tamil Nadu to check smuggling of goods to the LTTE.

The LTTE has been procuring explosives, detonators, resin, boat parts, chopped coir mats for building boats, chemicals, clothes, adhesives, walkie-talkies, Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and mobile SIM cards from India.


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The Sri Lanka Army’s ranks are swelling by the day as unprecedented numbers join the ranks and deserters start returning due to a general amnesty. Almost every month, a new battalion completes training and joins the battlefront.

The Army, while ambushing enemy reinforcement and troop movements, has kept own troops and their movements to the front lines safe, by regularly airlifting troops from the bases, directly to the battle-field.

Soldiers trained within the past 12 months are demonstrating a remarkable sense of orientation to the battlefield. Experts accredit this to the low-intensity warfare the Army is currently engaged in with the Tigers where large mobilizations are rare and the intensity of the enemy’s attacks, firepower, morale and tactics is at a record low.

The result is an enabling environment for new recruits to gain experience and adjust according to the requirements in the front lines.

Currently, over 5000 recruits are undergoing basic training while several hundred more undergo advanced infantry training. The Maduru Oya Special Forces and Combat Training Schools have around 1,500 infantry currently undergoing training, 600 of whom are newly recruited Special Forces troops completing their 6 month basic training.

A dramatic increase in the number of soldiers in the Army is useless unless accompanied by a qualitative and quantitative improvement in leadership. The investments made in this regard to rebuild a quality cadre of officers in the Army is commendable.

The opportunities available to new officers to gain entry into the region’s and the world’s best Military Academies has always been high for the Sri Lanka Army given its neutral status in the world, but the high-intensity warfare of yesteryear effectively debarred officers these opportunities. This situation has changed dramatically.

With a large number of officers and soldiers already in the battlefield, ground Commanders are able to approve leave for officers to enter prestigious Defence Schools all over the world. Promising new officers are whisked-away to these schools immediately upon graduation as Second Lieutenants from SLMA or KDA.

The training courses at Batalanda Staff College has also improved by leaps and bounds. These opportunities combined have contributed immensely to the development of quality all-round officers, which is crucial beyond the immediate needs of the Army.

The usefulness of officers returning from foreign training, with improved perspectives, skills and tools, has increased with the guarantee of a longer service life unlike in the past, where many a young officer was whisked away to meet his end abruptly in some trench.

With improved timing in the reentry process to the ranks of the Army, new officers are allowed the chance to reorientate themselves and for the military hierarchy to properly plan their re-entry into the military machine.

(Defence Wire)

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