Monday, December 21, 2009

Sri Lankan Navy seizes rebel arms smuggling ship

The Sri Lanka government on Monday said as part of its efforts to secure assets of the LTTE outside the island nation, its Navy has seized ‘Princess Christina’ — said to be the large LTTE arms ship — and escorted it to the Colombo Navy ship yard this morning.

A statement by the Defence Ministry said, “The ship is 89m in length and had been utilised for arms smuggling and human trafficking. Under directions of the Defence Secretary Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the assets that belonged to the LTTE are now being acquired by the country.”

It further quoted the Secretary Defence as saying that all the (LTTE) assets being acquired will be utilised for the development of the country considering the fact that they belong to the people of the country.

No details were immediately available as to where actually the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) seized the ship. The Ministry said the ship was seized following information provided by the LTTE chief arms procurer Kumaran Pathmanthan alias KP who is in the custody of the Sri Lankan authorities.

KP is being questioned on the LTTE’s connections, especially influential Western connections on its payroll, its leading donors, the group’s earnings from drugs and guns, and its intricate business empire.

A few weeks ago, Sri Lanka Minister and Defence Spokesperson Keheliya Rambukwella disclosed at a news conference here on Tuesday that the government was engaged in the process of collecting information and intelligence on LTTE assets in different parts of the globe with the objective of acquiring them for ‘national development’.

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