The attention of the Presidential Secretariat has been drawn to media reports about Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the north starving to death. The "Daily Mirror" of today March 07, 2009 also has such a report headlined "IDPs starving to death: UN"
As these media reports were based on a letter to the Government Agent, Mullaitivu by Dr. Varatharajah, Regional Director of Health Services (RDHS) Mullaitivu on March 4, 09, in which such deaths are mentioned, the Secretary, Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition (S/MHC&N) had made inquiries about this from Dr. Varatharajah, who admitted to S/MHC&N that his report to the GA Mullaitivu, giving the cause of deaths of 13 bodies brought to the Puthumattalam hospital as being due to starvation, was not based on clinical or any scientific evidence of starvation, as there had been no post-mortem inquiries held to ascertain the cause of death.
It is reliably learnt that the letter by Dr. Varatharajah to the GA had been picked up by a diplomat engaged in relief work, who had brought it to the notice of the UN, and this in turn had been picked up by an international news agency, later used by Human Right Watch and the HRW report also given publicity by the same news agency, as well as, pro-LTTE web sites. None of those who repeated the unsubstantiated statement by Dr. Varatharajah had taken the trouble to verify this from the Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition.
This lack of clarification being sought from the proper authorities is significant, as on another recent occasion much publicity was given to an e-mail from the same Dr. Varatharajah stating that there were at least 300 deaths and over 1000 injured among IDPs in the North in cross fire. Upon official inquiry, Dr. Varatharajah categorically denied having issued any such e-mail, and its contents. Following this denial, Associated Press that issued the news item based on the same doctor's alleged claim, recalled its story.
It is regretted that diplomats, news services and organizations keeping watch on human rights violations do not verify information from the relevant authorities in charge of the related subjects, before reporting to offices abroad, releasing news items, and issuing public statements on unverified comments, which are clearly aimed at distorting the truth about the situation in Sri Lanka, in a manner that would discredit the Government of Sri Lanka and its efforts to free and assist the IDPs in the north of the country.
The Government has taken all possible measures to provide food and medicines to the people of the North, including IDPs in places arranged for their shelter and care by the government, as well as, to those continued to be held as a human shield by the LTTE, which ignores UN and other international calls for their release. It is a well known fact for many years that the LTTE forcibly takes most of the food and medicines sent to the civilians for use by its own fighting cadres.
The Government is committed to ensure the welfare of the IDPs in the North, including the supply of food, medicines and other essentials. It is necessary to emphasize that there has been no case of any citizen of those parts dying of starvation, and the government will take all measures to prevent such a tragic occurrence.
The media release by the Secretary, Ministry of Healthcare & Nutrition, of March 05, 2009.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
The attention of the Presidential Secretariat has been drawn to media reports about Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the north starving to death. The "Daily Mirror" of today March 07, 2009 also has such a report headlined "IDPs starving to death: UN"
Posted by media at 11:23 PM
The recent recoveries by the Security Forces have made a startling revelation that the LTTE was in possession of state-of-the-art weaponry and most modern communication equipment that have been transported to uncleared areas after getting clearance from Colombo harbour and Customs, Government Defence Affairs Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said yesterday(March 6).
Addressing the weekly security press briefing at the Media Centre for National Security the Minister said that those communication equipment and most modern printing presses have been channeled to Tiger controlled areas after they got clearance from the Colombo harbour.
"Investigations have revealed that some people based in Colombo had worked in connivance with the LTTE to send those most modern equipment to uncleared areas clearing paths for them to transport them from Colombo to uncleared areas," the Minister added.
He said names of who had worked in connivance with the LTTE to bring in those equipment to the country and transport them to Tiger controlled areas will be divulged to the public very soon.
Minister Rambukwella recalled that there were certain instances where LTTE acquired those state-of-the-art communication equipment with some officials getting involved to clear the path for them to transport them to uncleared areas.
It was after the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement during the Ranil Wickremesinghe administration that the LTTE acquired modern communication equipment and transported them to uncleared areas through the Omanthai Entry-Exit point amidst protests by the Security Forces.
The 58 Division troops captured some hi-tech equipment believed to have been imported to the country during the Ceasefire period after they found a communication centre in Ampalavanpokkanai area in the North West of Puthukudiyiruppu on February 27
Television transmitting equipment with satellite antennas were found inside this communication centre and later it was found that they were used to transmit TV programs locally and internationally to tarnish the image of the Security Forces internationally.
"Investigations are now on to ascertain who had helped them to acquire them and transport them to the North after getting them released from the Customs," the Minister added.
Meanwhile, the Government with the support of the diplomatic community has launched investigations to ascertain as to how the LTTE acquired those weaponry including 130 mm artillery guns, light aircraft and other lethal weapons internationally.
Posted by media at 10:09 PM
Vietnam wants to increase its economic, trade and investment cooperation with Sri Lanka, said Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung while receiving Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama in Hanoi yesterday.
Mr Dung welcomed the result of talks between Minister Bogollagama and Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem the day earlier and expressed his belief that the diplomat’s visit will help strengthen ties between Vietnam and Sri Lanka.
He noted that two-way trade between Vietnam and Sri Lanka has increased considerably in recent years, reaching US$61 million in 2008, up 14 percent against 2007. However, he said that bilateral economic and investment ties have not matched their full potential.
He proposed that both countries convene their inter-governmental committee as soon as possible, sign an agreement on investment protection, and increase the exchange of visits to promote bilateral cooperation in various areas.
The Prime Minister lauded Sri Lanka’s socio-economic development achievements, saying the country has achieved a relatively high economic growth rate in recent times, and its average GDP per capita is among the highest in South Asia.
He voiced his support for Sri Lanka’s efforts to maintain stability, fight terrorism and restore social order and security for national construction. He also hoped that Sri Lanka will help Vietnam increase its economic, trade and investment links with other countries in South Asia.
For his part, Mr. Bogollagama said that during his talks with Mr Khiem in Hanoi on March 5, they agreed that both countries need to expand bilateral cooperation to other areas such as agriculture, education and training, culture, sports and tourism alongside the existing economic and trade ties.
They also agreed to work closer together at regional and international forums such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the United Nations.
The diplomat also praised Vietnam’s position in the world’s arena, particularly after the country successfully held the presidency of the United Nations Security Council last July.
“Sri Lanka wants to strengthen the traditional friendship and multifaceted cooperation with Vietnam further,” said Mr. Bogollagama.
He said he hopes to receive Mr Dung during his forthcoming visit to Sri Lanka.
Posted by media at 10:07 PM
COLOMBO: Military links between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the militant based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) organization go back to the early 1990s, the Sri Lankan Presidential Secretariat said on Friday.
As early as 1992, LTTE leader Sathasivam Krishnakumar alias Kittu had negotiated an arms deal with the militants based in Peshawar, the presidential research unit said in a report.
The links date back to 1992, the report said, when Kittu, a prominent strategist of the LTTE at the time, negotiated arms purchases for the LTTE in Peshawar. In 1993, an Indian intelligence agency identified the vessel in which Kittu was transporting the weapons for the LTTE. The ship was destroyed at sea and Kittu was killed.
There had also been speculations, the report said, that the LTTE might have had external help in firing missiles which brought down two Avro aircraft near Palali airbase in April 1995, killing a large number of civilians. ‘It was believed at the time that the LTTE may have used mercenaries with links to Peshawar or Afghanistan, to fire the missiles which hit the aircraft, links which have remained till today.’
Intelligence sources were aware that LTTE’s links with the LeT continued and there were ‘substantiated reports’ of the Sri Lankan terrorists group and LeT exchanging terrorist expertise, LeT supplying arms to the LTTE, and both carrying out joint training.
Suspicions about LTTE’s hand in the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team emanated from the aspects of planning and the resources that were available to the attackers, the report said.
‘The information that the attackers had planned to take the Sri Lankan players hostage, is also being viewed by intelligence sources in South Asian capitals, in the context of LTTE’s current position of near defeat, and the search for a bargaining tool for its call for a ceasefire.’
The report said that some Indian analysts were of the view that had ‘the attackers been successful and taken all or any of the Sri Lankan players hostage, and used them for bargaining with Sri Lanka, or either with India or Pakistan or both, it would have led to a major diplomatic crisis in the region.’
The reports cite a statement by the US State Department, which says that it was an attack, not only on innocent civilians, but also on the positive relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The presidential statement said that the US viewpoint came very close to suspicions of well-informed intelligence sources that the LTTE might have been trying to seek revenge for the strong support that Pakistan had given to Sri Lanka in its fight against terror.
‘This high-level support has gone on from 1999, and has contributed much to the LTTE’s current position of being on the brink of defeat,’ the report said
Posted by media at 12:14 PM
Washington, March 06: Holding the Tamil Tigers responsible for the "increasing sufferings" of civilians in Sri Lanka's embattled north, the US on Friday asked the outlawed LTTE to stop lobbying shells and shooting guns out of the safe zone declared by the government.
US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher also called on the LTTE to stop the violence and allow the innocent Tamil civilians to flee the shrinking war zone.
"Tigers have been shooting shells out of the safe zone. We call upon the government not to shoot back, but first and foremost the Tamil Tigers have to stop shooting.
"That is where we are asking to stop the violence, let the people find safety, and then talk about how to end hostilities," said Boucher, who heads the South and Central Asian Affairs at the State Department.
Talking to a group of South Asian journalists, Boucher insisted that the US call to stop fighting is to both the LTTE and Sri Lankan Government.
"The Tamil Tigers by trapping them (civilians), by continuing the conflict are just increasing the sufferings of the Tamil people. So it is very much time for them to allow safe passage for them to allow these people to leave," Boucher said.
While the Government says there are only 70,000 people trapped in the war zone, aid agencies contradict the figure and say the number could 200,000.
"We are glad to see that the government managing to get some additional food supply to these areas this weekend," Boucher said.
But that could not be the case with the Tamil Tigers. "We have seen the Tamil Tigers shelling out of that safe zone. We have seen them continuing hostilities in other places. So we believe that it is time for them to stop fighting and allow these people to go safely to other parts of safe places," Boucher said.
It is only then there could be discussions on how to end hostilities.
"Making political calls and statements, does not really count when you are still lobbying shells and shooting guns. It is time to stop shooting guns," Boucher said.
"I encourage the Tigers to stop fighting and be willing to talk about how to end the hostilities," Boucher said in response to a question.
Boucher said the United States has always "believed that there needs to be opportunities for Tamils, there needs to be respect for Tamils in Sri Lankan society, and there needs to be a political arrangement to have a stable political governance situation in the country.
"These are the goals, which the US is continuing to press. But let's remember that respect for Tamils means that they should not be trapped in zones of the conflict," he said.
Source: Zee News
Posted by media at 12:06 PM
Friday, March 6, 2009
Andrew Dismore, Labour Member of Parliament for an obscure suburb in Northwest London, sounds as though he has been sniffing something. In an article described rather hopefully as ‘comment’ on the Guardian website today, he does a very good job of repeating LTTE propaganda, while completely failing to note what are accepted by the United Nations and other international agencies as the essential facts of the Sri Lankan conflict.
The only point Dismore gets right is that the Sri Lankan government is currently in the middle of fighting, but this is a war against a banned terrorist organisation, not the Tamil people. While the LTTE did at one time represent the aspirations of sections of the Tamil community, that was long ago. Today, Tamils are desperate to get away to the safety of Government controlled areas, and the LTTE is shooting them in the back.
This can’t be dismissed as the crazed efforts of a group fighting for its survival either, although that would be bad enough. The LTTE has long trampled on the rights of the Tamil community, and they have responded by withdrawing support. Tamils have been killed in large numbers by the LTTE, particularly those who have attempted to take on leadership roles. Members of rival groups who joined mainstream politics in preference to continuing their violent struggle against the state have fared the worst, but they have certainly not been alone. The LTTE has killed prominent civil society activists, the Deputy Secretary General of the Peace Secretariat and the Foreign Minister, to name but a few of the Tamil people who have been cut down so far.
Of course the fact that the LTTE is a fascist organisation doesn’t justify anything other than what the Sri Lankan government is doing, which is attempting to put a stop to its atrocities. Terrorists can’t be allowed to control territory, not only as a matter of very obvious principle in a democratic country, but also because it enables them to manufacture suicide jackets, construct planes, submarines and so on, and brainwash the poor children they regularly abduct without fear of interruption.
In his altered state, Dismore tries to make people think that the Sri Lankan government is up to something rather less worthy, throwing around a lot of claims that basically originate from the LTTE. He talks of cluster bombs and white phosphorus, both trendy buzzwords after the exploits of the United States and Israel in their far less careful struggles against terrorism, despite there being absolutely no evidence of their use in Sri Lanka. Believing unsubstantiated claims put about by the LTTE at a time when it is on the brink of collapse is obviously not sensible, and his position as a representative of the British people demands greater concern for the truth.
Amnesty International fell into this trap earlier. It was responsible for the propagation of the notion that cluster bombs had been used by the Sri Lankan forces, quoting United Nations officials as saying that they had been dropped on a hospital. But the United Nations later said that its people had been mistaken in identifying the weapons used, with local representatives having described by telephone the noises they had heard outside, and expatriate staff in Colombo wrongly interpreting their description. Andrew Dismore may be forgiven for not knowing this to be a false claim, because Amnesty International didn’t bother to withdraw its statement. Indeed, this failure to issue corrections is a serious problem for the Sri Lankan government, because United Nations officials have also admitted that firing they initially claimed might have come from either side was almost certainly done by terrorists.
Most ridiculous is Dismore’s assertion that independent observers would call the Sri Lankan government campaign against the LTTE genocide. The LTTE has been spreading this claim around as liberally as possible, presumably in the hope that people, at least those who don't know that most Tamils live in Government controlled areas and that Colombo is a Tamil majority city, will believe that there could be no smoke without fire. Dismore ought to explain who the independent observers are, because even the strongest critics of the Sri Lankan government have explicitly stated that there is no genocide in Sri Lanka. Human Rights Watch made such a statement last week.
Obviously innocent people are dying. The Sri Lankan government considers even a single civilian death to be one too many, and it has given instructions to the Security Forces to do everything possible to avoid mistakes in targeting. Indeed, we have even been monitoring accusations of casualties made by websites connected to the LTTE such as TamilNet, and found that there have been very few instances. Since we made these discoveries public, of course, TamilNet has increased its accusations considerably, and the figure Andrew Dismore gives for civilian deaths since the beginning of the year coincides with its latest claims. That the Security Forces are being incredibly careful is however obvious, given the rather slow progress they have been making in recovering the last few square kilometres of territory.
The LTTE is responsible for the majority of civilian deaths. The United Nations has confirmed that the LTTE has been firing on people trying to escape to Government controlled areas, as well as despatching suicide bombers to explode themselves amongst those who succeed as they make their way to Government welfare centres. It has also said that at least some of the shelling that has killed civilians definitely originated with the LTTE, while establishing which side was guilty in other cases, according to the United Nations, has not been possible.
Dismore makes it clear that his mind really has fogged over when he suggests that the Sri Lankan government has left people without food. Given the efforts made to get supplies into LTTE controlled areas, first by road and now also by ship, which have occupied Government officials day and night for the last six months, this is appalling ignorance. Dismore even claims that the Sri Lankan government has prevented the United Nations agencies from helping people, although most of the work done by Government officials has been coordinated with the World Food Programme, with the International Committee of the Red Cross negotiating safe passage from LTTE bosses.
If this British parliamentarian isn't suffering from an overdose of imagination, today's article can only be a ploy to win votes from the Tamil diaspora in Northwest London. Sri Lankans who left the country many years ago are sadly out of touch with the situation here, and they are constantly bombarded with LTTE propaganda. Andrew Dismore's obvious desire to pander to their misconceptions is understandable in a politician, but he must draw the line at embracing a terrorist agenda.
Posted by media at 8:25 PM
The Northern line train, which currently operates up to Vavuniya, would be extended to Thandikulam before March 15, the Department of Railways said.
A trial run was successfully conducted from Vavuniya to Thandikulam yesterday while another train with crew and equipment arrived at Thandikulam from Dematagoda to attend to repairs to the stretch of track which had not been maintained by the Railways Department during the past few years due to LTTE activities. The crew may also extend the repairs on the track beyond Thandikulam.
In 2000 the train services were operated up to Thandikulam and later it was extended up to Omanthai. However the tracks and sleepers were removed by the LTTE beyond Thandikulam to construct bunkers and trains were not operated beyond Vavuniya during the last few years.
Posted by media at 8:23 PM
Thousands of acres of paddy land in the Eastern Province were left fallow during the long years of conflict. The prevailing insecurity made it difficult for farmers to access their fields, while many people left the region altogether. Further, the LTTE compelled farmers in areas under its control to pay into its coffers after each harvest, which affected the profitability of their enterprises. Paddy cultivation dropped sharply.
Since the military operations of 2006 and 2007, the Government has focused its attention on promoting economic activity in the Eastern Province. A key aspect of this strategy has been supporting production.
The Provincial Ministry of Agriculture has led these efforts. Having first identified the owners of abandoned paddy lands, hardly an easy task, it set itself to provide the necessary inputs. Seed paddy has been distributed on a wide scale, along with farming equipment.
As a result, land under cultivation has gone up dramatically. While a mere 277,776 acres were cultivated in 2007/8, this extent has increased by 47% to 408,952 acres in 2008/9. The Eastern Province now supplies 30% of the local demand for rice, which is a major contribution to the national economy, as well as being a tremendous gain for the local people.
One of the problems encountered is the tendency for increased yields to force down prices. Private traders, bent on making a bigger profit, have started to offer less than the standard Rs. 28 to Rs. 30 per kilo, which makes it difficult for farmers to break even.
The Provincial Ministry of Agriculture has intervened by establishing a guaranteed price of Rs. 27 per kilo, and paddy is now being purchased through cooperative societies. This hasn't been isn't easy, for the Government no longer has the infrastructure to support this kind of purchasing scheme – stores were privatised when the Paddy Marketing Board was closed down by a previous administration.
Meanwhile, steps have also been taken to promote the use of organic fertiliser. Immediately after the paddy is harvested, jute is planted in the fields. The jute plants are then ploughed back into the soil, adding to the nitrogen content. They are therefore an excellent and environmentally friendly source of fertiliser. The Provincial Ministry of Agriculture has been creating awareness amongst farmers of the advantages of jute, and a jute festival was held recently at Wellavely in the Batticaloa district for this purpose.
The Peace Secretariat is in the process of making plans to contribute to this effort to revitalise agriculture in the Eastern Province, by coordinating a small loan programme for farmers owning less than two acres, and for unemployed youth. As well as support for paddy cultivation, this will include assistance to start other kinds of businesses and to plant cash crops like maize, cowpea, onion and chilli. Discussions have already been held with the Provincial Ministry of Agriculture, and it is hoped that the Lankaputhra Development Bank will join in too.
Posted by media at 8:21 PM
Posted by media at 12:40 PM
LONDON (UK): Pakistan High Commission has termed reports in the British media in the wake of terrorist attacks on Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore biased and far-fetched narrative. “A section of the press in their reports and editorial comments while dwelling on the dastardly attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, attempted to depict Pakistan as a “failing state”.
“This biased and far-fetched narrative has often been resurrected after every terrorist incident in Pakistan. Such conjectures are doing more harm than good in our joint fight against extremism and terrorism and the cause of democracy in Pakistan”, said Press Counsellor Syeda Sultana Rizvi in her letter addressed to the British editors.
“It would be an extreme travesty of facts if one is made to believe that institutions in Pakistan are not working”, she said while noting that terrorism is a phenomenon which can occur anytime, any where. Ms. Rizvi said by making an incident, how unfortunate it may be, look like failure of a sovereign state is not only unfair but also an attempt to malign Pakistan. She urged the British media to come out of the denial mode about the reality of today’s Pakistan.
“The fact is that despite all challenges, the Government institutions in Pakistan have been working efficiently and with great professionalism and resilience. We owe it to our security institutions that hundreds of terrorists were apprehended or killed during the past seven years. Similarly over 2,000 Pakistani military and Para-military personnel laid down their lives while confronting extremists and terrorists.”
She expressed her surprise over the ease and naivet with which some analysts have ignored the efforts of the Government of Pakistan in tackling the colossal challenge of terrorism which is not of Pakistan’s making. “Let the international community know that it owes its safety and security to the sincere, determined and incessant efforts of Pakistan to fight this scourge,” she said.
The Press Counsellor added that instead of appreciating Pakistan’s sterling role in counterterrorism efforts, for which Pakistan has been paying a heavy price in terms of men and material more than any other country in the world, it is unfortunate to listen to a crescendo of doomsday prophecies churned out by experts on terrorism.
Sadly, she further stated very little has appeared in the media about helping the democratic Government in Pakistan in its efforts to tackle the menace of violent extremism. “The uncanny remarks about the alleged “deficit of will” to fight terrorism can only encourage the extremists and terrorists to continue with their nefarious activities. In fact, such comments may provide oxygen to terrorists to thrive on media coverage they receive and create an illusion of their victory.”
Ms. Rizvi reiterated sincerity and determination of the Pakistan Government and its military and Para-military institutions in taking on the challenge of terrorism. “What Pakistan needs is realistic reporting without indulging in cut-and-paste job on irrelevant issues while commenting on a particular incident,” she added.
The Press Counsellor also reminded that it was not bad security which caused 9/11 in the US or 7/7 in Britain saying that no sporting activity or international event was stopped during the years when IRA was constantly planting bombs in mainland Britain including the attack in which the former Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher had a narrow escape.
Associate Press of Sri Lanka
Posted by media at 11:44 AM
According to the latest reports received from the battlefront troops are now continuing further search and clearing operations to hunt more LTTE infiltrators who have made a desperate attempt to breach the security forces defences during the early hours on Friday, 5 March.
LTTE terrorists of "Radhan" band attempted to breach the security forces defences linking 55 and 58 Divisions at south of Chalai around 4 AM yesterday. The so called LTTE 'top level' commanders Swarnam and Loreance commanded the LTTE terrorists in this failed attempt losing over 35 LTTE cadres, defence sources said.
LTTE terrorists were totally disorganized as troops launched an effective counter push on the terrorist infiltrators following early detection of enemy movements.
Meanwhile, troops of 55 Division have found 3 bodies of LTTE cadres killed during the same confrontation on Thursday. 4 x T-56 weapons, 3 x I-Com sets, and ration packets were also uncovered during the search operation
Posted by media at 11:42 AM
A Canadian accused of helping the Tamil Tigers has been ordered extradited to the United States.
Suresh Sriskandarajah, 28, was arrested in August 2006 as part of a joint investigation by the RCMP and the FBI.
Sriskandarajah is accused of laundering money, buying military software and using students to smuggle equipment into Tiger-controlled areas of northern Sri Lanka.
Thursday, a judge decided he must now stand trial in the US.
His lawyer John Norris admitted he was disappointed with the verdict, but said he was encouraged by a court of appeal hearing scheduled for Friday.
A bail review will also be launched, pending the appeal of the decision. Norris will also appeal to the Minister of Justice who has the power to halt the extradition, a process that could take up to a year.
The University of Waterloo graduate (engineering) was out on a $400,000 bail, which was revoked Thursday.
In court documents he is described as being a leader of other suspected supporters with ties to the Tamil Student Association at Waterloo.
While out on bail, he earned an additional degree: an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University.
He was praised by his professors as being "a man of high moral integrity."
Posted by media at 11:40 AM
SriLankan Engineering achieved yet another milestone in its quest to become an aircraft maintenance organisation of choice in the region when it was contracted to dismantle an entire Airbus A320 aircraft that is being taken apart by its owner, at end of lease with SriLankan.
The project for AAR Corporation, a company based in the United States that owns and leases aircraft to airlines around the world, is the first aircraft dismantling programme undertaken by SriLankan Engineering.
The project involves separating all of the thousands of usable parts and systems on the aircraft, packing them, and shipping them to the owning company. The work was carried out over just six weeks. The parts will be used as spares for other aircraft.D.A.G Jayasuriya, Acting Head of SriLankan Engineering, said: “In the past such a project would have been carried out in the United States or elsewhere. But AAR Corporation awarded the contract to SriLankan Engineering, since we now have the expertise and our rates are very competitive.”
The aircraft was one which SriLankan Airlines had leased over the last five years and retired recently during its re-fleeting programme.
Sri Lanka ’s National Carrier is currently replacing its older aircraft with more modern ones, the first having arrived last November, with the second expected in March.
“This dismantling programme has also given our engineering staff some invaluable exposure, and we hope to take on more such dismantling projects soon,” said Jayasuriya.
SriLankan Engineering, which holds the prestigious EASA 145 certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), is taking on a growing number of projects for airlines and other members of the global air transport industry. Its training wing SriLankan Technical Training holds the EASA 147 certification to provide training in Aircraft Maintenance to foreign and local students.
SriLankan possesses a modern hangar facility and engineering workshops at Colombo ’s Bandaranaike International Airport , and its services have been contracted for major aircraft maintenance projects by other airlines such as Emirates, Airblue, and IndiGo. These projects take place simultaneously with SriLankan Engineering’s day to day maintenance work on SriLankan Airlines’ own fleet.
The efficiency of SriLankan Engineering also played a major role in SriLankan Airlines being awarded two prestigious titles by Airbus Industrie for Operational Excellence among all small airlines that operate the 4-engined A340 and twin-engined A330 aircraft.
Posted by media at 11:22 AM
Sri Lanka's cornered Tamil Tiger rebels have intensified conscription of child soldiers, some as young as 14, the United Nations agency for children says.
UNICEF said in a statement that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had stepped up recruitment of the children as the rebels prepare to take a last stand against advancing government forces.
"We have clear indications that the LTTE has intensified forcible recruitment of civilians and that children as young as 14 years old are now being targeted," said Philippe Duamelle, UNICEF's chief in Sri Lanka.
The Tigers have recruited more than 6,000 child soldiers since 2002, he added.
Meanwhile the Tigers lashed out at the UN after it accused them of shooting civilians who try to escape the island's bloody ethnic conflict.
The UN said the Tigers have detained tens of thousands of non-combatants inside rebel-held territory and have "shot and sometimes killed" those crossing the battle lines to seek safety.
A front organisation for the rebels, who have been cornered in the jungle by government troops, countered the allegations by saying the United Nations had failed in its duty to protect innocent people.
The UN was "withdrawing even the remaining few local staff from the conflict zone [and] completely shedding its responsibility of caring for the civilians trapped here," said the Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO).
The statement, released on the pro-rebel website Tamilnet, came after the UN said that "a growing number of people trying to leave have been shot and sometimes killed".
The TRO, which is outlawed in several countries, including the US, said the UN had levelled its harsh criticisms to hide "their own failures".
Tiger leaders have always denied charges that their fighters kill civilians or hold them as "human shields".
Posted by media at 8:53 AM
India’s top security expert said that five South Asian countries hit by the menace of terrorism should form a common brain trust to jointly deal with the threat. Security expert B. Raman, Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies said this in Chennai while referring to the attack on Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore.
Asked about the speculation that the terrorist group Harkat-u-Mujahideen (HUM), which maintained close links with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) could be responsible for the :Lahore attack, Raman said in an interview, "If it turns out that the HUM had a hand in it, either it might have carried it out at its own instance to express its continuing solidarity with the LTTE or at the instance of the LTTE, which has not been able to carry out any successful terrorist strike in Sri Lanka recently."
The expert also warned that as the LTTE is finally defeated and its terrorist infrastructure in Sri Lanka neutralised, it could try to keep the movement alive through acts of terrorism in foreign countries.
"Jihadi terrorism emanating from the sanctuaries in Pakistani territory has assumed a pan-sub-continental dimension equally threatening all the countries of the sub-continent-- Afghanistan, Pakistan, , India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka," he said. "It is time these countries constitute a common counter-terrorism brains trust to deal with this threat jointly. Otherwise, they will continue bleeding separately."
Raman pointed out that HUM is the closest ally of the LTTE in Pakistan. "LTTE has had a long history of relationship relating to arms supply and drug smuggling with HUM".
He also said that Pro-LTTE members of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora and the terrorist organisations of the world with which it has had fraternal ties such as the Hizbollah and the HUM would come in handy especially at a time the movement is routed in Sri Lanka.
Raman said that it was illogical for the BBC to rule out the possibility of either the direct or indirect involvement of the LTTE on the ground that there are Tamils like Muthtiah Muralitharan in the Sri Lankan team. "The LTTE had killed a number of prominent Tamils of Sri Lanka, who had distinguished themselves in various fields. It has been using thousands of Tamil civilians as human shields to protect itself from final defeat. Why should it have qualms over the killing of Sri Lankan Tamil cricketers?" he asked. "The LTTE is now a desperate organisation. It can do desperate things."
Raman said that the HUM came to the notice of the Indian intelligence for the first time in 1993 when it supplied a consignment of arms and ammunition to the LTTE, which was loaded into an LTTE ship at Karachi with the complicity of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
It came to notice in Kashmir in 1995 when it kidnapped some Western tourists under the name Al Faran. It was after this that the US designated it as a foreign terrorist organisation in October,1997, under its then name of the Harkat-ul-Ansar.
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Thursday, March 5, 2009
Few civilians seem interested...........
March 5, 2009: Troops are capturing many LTTE headquarters operations, along with computers, communications gear (like satellite phones) and many documents. Large quantities of foreign aid items were found in use by the LTTE. It was no secret that the foreign aid groups did not make a big effort to keep the LTTE from taking a share of the aid for civilians in LTTE controlled territory. Still, it was obvious to the soldiers that the LTTE relied heavily on the foreign aid to keep going. Also found were many photos and videos of LTTE leaders sharing happy moments with Tamil politicians from south India.
The army has three divisions (the 53rd, 58th and 59th) squeezing the remaining LTTE force. The army has to be careful in how it uses its artillery, because the LTTE has over 70,000 Tamil civilians with them as human shields. The LTTE is working world, and especially Indian, public opinion, in an effort to use the plight of their civilian hostages to get a ceasefire. But the Sri Lankan government, and Sri Lankan public opinion, will not go for it. Sri Lankans sense victory in this 25 year war, and want it to end on their terms. The army is moving cautiously, to try and extract as many civilians from the combat zone as possible before engaging LTTE gunmen. LTTE morale is weakening, with terrified civilians risking their lives to escape the LTTE guards. The Tamil civilians report LTTE leaders exhorting civilians to "come die with us (the LTTE fighters)." Few civilians seem interested.
March 3, 2009: The A-9 highway (from the center of the island to the northern tip) was officially opened to traffic for the first time in 24 years. Before, the LTTE had controlled portions of the A-9, and there was little traffic on the road. The army regained control of the entire A-9 two months ago.
In Pakistan, a dozen gunmen attacked minibuses carrying the Sri Lankan national cricket team. Six Pakistanis (including five police) were killed and five Sri Lankans injured. The gunmen got away, and no one took credit for the attack. However, one of the many Islamic terrorist groups in Pakistan appears responsible. Cricket is a huge sport in South Asia, and attacking players like this is big news in the region. The LTTE has denied any connection with the attack.
March 2, 2009: An army radar detected at least ten LTTE boats moving from the LTTE controlled territory before dawn. Army artillery fired on the boats and destroyed ten of them.
February 28, 2009: The LTTE only control 58 square kilometers of territory in the northeast.
February 27, 2009: Troops captured all of Puthukkudiriruppu, the last LTTE held town in the northeast. The army had been battling on the outskirts for over a week. The LTTE defended the town energetically. That was because, it turned out, the town contained lots of communications gear, including satellite dishes and what appeared to be several headquarters operations.
Source: Strategy Page
Posted by media at 9:11 PM
John Thompson, National Post: March 05, 2009
No prolonged violent civil war ends quietly; and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) are squalling like, well, a cat on the losing end of a desperate fight.
Throughout the countries that shelter the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora, the Tigers' activists are desperately trying to win some reprieve for the last LTTE guerrilla force trapped in Sri Lanka. The problem is that the Tamil Tigers began as a terrorist group; and the two main traits of terrorists are deception and atrocity.
Terrorists try to convince both themselves and a wider audience that their cause is righteous. It seldom is. Reformers like Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and Lech Walesa proved that non-violent protest works.
Terrorists are people who prefer violence; their first targets are often the aspiring King-and Walesa-types who would lead the terrorists' preferred audience along a gentler path. Prabhakaran, the Tiger Supremo, began his career by murdering a federalist Tamil politician who preferred to work within the political system.
The violence of a terrorist is a fast-track to leadership -- faster than working within a political system. The leaders of terrorist groups are often "self-actualizing," choosing a path that lets them convince themselves that violence is excusable.
Few conflicts have simple causes, and descriptions of the complexities behind the Sri Lankan war with the LTTE have filled entire books. But most people prefer simple narratives; terrorists and their supporters are no exception. A highly involved struggle in Sri Lanka was slowly turned into a Sinhalese vs. Tamil epic by the Tigers, and that's the story they still push --even now.
Atrocity is the stock-in-trade of the terrorist who feels he has to use outrageous violence to give truth to his lies to justify his actions.
One basic tactic of terrorism is to goad authorities into an overreaction which then polarizes the terrorists' target community and alienates them from the wider society. The Sri Lankan civil war is widely held to have started when Sinhalese mobs killed hundreds of Tamils and forced tens of thousands to flee in 1983. The Tigers have used this event to justify all their actions ever since. What they do not discuss are the years of terrorist activity leading up to this explosion of rage. Moreover, guerrilla forces do not manifest overnight; the LTTE already had a guerrilla force in advance of the outbreak of rioting.
The guerrilla war has been waged off and on for 26 years now. Yet we are supposed to forget that the Tigers have probably killed more Tamils than the Sri Lankan government has; not least through their suppression of rival Tamil perspectives.
There have been three major ceasefires in the LTTE war -- each one broken by the Tigers as soon as they had rebuilt their ranks and restocked their war chest. The Tigers also assassinated two heads of state, pioneered the suicide belt-bomb and generally established a reputation as one of the most audacious terrorist groups the world has ever seen.
As the Tigers' last main guerrilla force retreated to its current position in January, they held tens of thousands of Tamil civilians at gunpoint, using them as human shields. This hasn't slowed down Sri Lanka's Army much; so now the Tigers are using their own hostages as "proof" of alleged genocidal instincts in the Sri Lankan government.
However, past LTTE terror tactics, like truck bombs in office buildings and time bombs on buses, didn't discriminate between Sinhalese, Tamils and Sri Lanka's minority Muslims and Burghers.
If the Tigers were that concerned about the hostages they use as human shields, they could surrender or let them go. They show no signs of doing either.
They are eager for aid to be delivered inside their lines for the relief of the hostages; but their own larder is also running low.
For all their squalling, the Tigers don't deserve our sympathy, and it's shameless of them to demand it. - John Thompson is president of the Mackenzie Institute, a Toronto-based research group focused on organized violence and political instability.
Source: National Post
Posted by media at 9:03 PM
Mar 05, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka's two biggest banks, state-owned Bank of Ceylon (BOC) and the private listed Commercial Bank, plan to expand in areas of the island's north and east which have been cleared of Tamil Tiger rebels.
Gamini Wickramasinghe, chairman of BOC, said the bank will be establishing eight more branches in the north and east in the next two months.
"Three new branches will be opened in the Northern Province and five more branches will be opened in the Eastern Province, before the end of April."
Currently the bank has 17 branches operating in the north and 17 in the eastern province.
Wickramasinghe said the bank's outlets in the former northern rebel strongholds of Killinochchi, Manukulam and Mullaitivu had been functioning almost non-stop for the last 25 years.
"Most of the branches that existed in the troubled zones have run at a loss. It’s the service we want to provide, we are not there just for the money."
The army has driven the Tigers out of all the main towns of the north and east and cornered them in a small patch of land on the island's north-east coast, where the reels face imminent defeat.
The government has said it was to revive the economy of the north and east quickly to provide employment for displaced people and help them resume normal life, as well as re-integrate the regional economy with the rest of the country.
Posted by media at 8:47 PM
Agriculture Development and Agrarian Services Minister Maithripala Sirisena said moves are under way to introduce agricultural projects in the cleared areas of the Vanni and fully liberated Eastern Province with the use of international funds.
Minister Sirisena said, "the World Bank, the Japanese Government and the United Nations have pledged millions of dollars to commence agriculture projects in the cleared areas to upgrade the lives of Tamil civilians who live in the North and the East regions. He said the Ministry has already taken a number of steps to organize the public in areas cleared by the Security Forces to start agricultural projects.
The Agriculture and Agrarian Services Ministry has given away 100 tractors among paddy farmers in the area. We have also provided them with farm equipment and implements, to start their farming activities.
We also distributed seed varieties among them. Steps have been taken months ago to set up Govi Jana Seva Centres in the Eastern and Northern Provinces. Most of the programs have been implemented in the Eastern Province. Steps will be taken to introduce bigger agricultural projects to increase the country's rice production once the Security Forces have fully liberated the Vanni with its humanitarian operations.
The cost of rice varieties now available from Rs. 54 to Rs. 70 are expected to rapidly go down once new agricultural projects have been established in the North and the East."
Posted by media at 12:58 PM
OFFENSIVES, inside the remaining entire un-cleared area of less than 45 sq km, inclusive of the reserved ‘Safety Zone’ for fleeing civilians should be carried out taking all possible safety precautions with utmost precision, since the number of civilians thronging into the area is now fast swelling,” so said Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka when he met his senior ground commanders Wednesday (4) morning at the Vanni Security Forces Headquarters in Vavuniya.
Impressed immensely with ground achievements hitherto, made by his troops, now confining the enemy to less than 20-25 sq km in extent, excluding the ‘Safety Zone’ further underlined importance of maintaining the status quo, as regards arrangements in place for receipt of fleeing civilians.
“LTTE infiltrators from rear areas would try their maximum to inflict injury on both civilians and ground troops alike after mingling with civilians on the flee, as they have already done in several instances. Their ability for frontal fighting as before has drastically diminished and the terror outfit has been badly affected due to lack of manpower and replenishments. They have now resorted to storming the ‘Safety Zone’ and abducting children of the escapees. Our progress from now onwards should be made meticulously, taking maximum precautions, keeping the civilian factor in mind at all times,” Commander of the Army specified during the meeting at Vanni Headquarters.
Major General Jagath Jayasuriya, Commander Security Forces, Vanni after receipt of the Army Chief and his entourage at the air base presented a comprehensive account of the ground realities to the visiting Commander at the beginning of the weekly assessment. All General Officers Commanding, Brigade and other senior formation commanders also contributed to the session, providing all details and related images of LTTE atrocities, committed in their respective offensive areas.
Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka, pleased with the re-opening of the A-9 Highway for military logistics also instructed his troops to ensure maximum security for military convoys, as LTTE might turn to final suicidal missions in the face of their humiliating endgame.
Read More: SL Army
Posted by media at 8:17 AM
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Stewart Bell, National Post
Published: Tuesday, March 03, 2009
The government took the first steps Tuesday toward taking over property in Ontario and Quebec that it says is controlled by a terrorist group involved in South Asia's longest-running civil war.
Federal prosecutors in Toronto and Montreal filed applications in the Federal Court of Canada saying they were seeking the forfeiture of the property of the World Tamil Movement, an outlawed terrorist organization.
It is the first time the government has used the forfeiture provision of the Anti-Terrorism Act, which allows the Attorney General to seize "property owned or controlled by or on behalf of a terrorist group."
The list of items the government wants to strip from the World Tamil Movement of Ontario and World Tamil Movement of Quebec fills 300 pages and includes everything from bank accounts to golf shirts bearing the Tamil Tigers emblem.
If it is successful, the government would be allowed to keep the items or sell them and use the proceeds either to compensate victims of terrorist activities or fund anti-terrorism initiatives.
But the court must first approve the forfeitures and a lawyer representing the Montreal branch of the World Tamil Movement said his clients deny any terrorist affiliation and intend to challenge the government's case.
"Needless to say the WTM maintains that ‘we have never been terrorist financiers and we believe even that the whole system is of doubtful constitutionality,'" Steven Slimovitch said. "So there's no question that this is going to be a long process."
The WTM was formed in 1986 to represent Canada's large population of ethnic Tamils from Sri Lanka, many of whom had fled the civil war between government forces and the separatist Tamil Tigers guerrillas.
Last June, the government placed the World Tamil Movement on its official list of terrorist entities, calling it a "front" for the Tamil Tigers rebels and accusing it of using threats and intimidation to finance the Sri Lankan civil war.
That decision effectively put the WTM out of business, but nine months later the government has begun the process to strip the group of its property. The court filing is addressed to WTM President Sitta Sittampalam, Secretary Raveendran Thambapillai, Treasurer Jega Ramasamy, Treasurer Panchalingam Paramananthan, and the TD and CIBC banks, among others.
RCMP counter-terrorism officers searched the World Tamil Movement offices in Canada in 2006 and seized: Tamil Tigers paraphernalia; a letter from Tamil Tigers leader Velupillai Prabhakaran asking for $3-million; a letter from the Tamil Tigers procurement wing asking for money for artillery; and Elections Canada voter lists with the Tamil names highlighted.
According to RCMP reports filed in court since the raids, the investigators also uncovered a terrorist-financing operation that was targeting Tamil Canadians for donations, sometimes using pressure tactics.
The main fundraising method was a pre-authorized payment scheme in which Tamils were asked to sign forms allowing the World Tamil Movement to make monthly withdrawals from their bank accounts, police said.
The WTM took in $763,000 a year using the scheme. In a single day in 2005, it withdrew $64,000 from 1,528 bank accounts. "Significant evidence of terrorist financing was found," the RCMP wrote, "including pre-authorized loan forms, well-organized ledger and receipt books formatted by postal code, indicating names of contributors and collectors, and large quantities of LTTE propaganda materials, and merchandise."
The RCMP was able to trace $3-million worth of bank transfers that occurred between 2002 and 2006 from the WTM accounts in Canada to overseas accounts, most of them linked to the Tamil Tigers.
"The bank records seized...demonstrate that the World Tamil Movement has developed an elaborate machine like entity that moves throughout Greater Toronto collecting funds with extreme proficiency," the RCMP said, adding the setup was "congruent with the money laundering techniques often employed by organized crime."
Tuesday, several hundred demonstrators stood outside the United States Consulate in Toronto, some waving Tamil Tigers flags. An ad for the protest said its purpose was to urge President Barack Obama to "save Tamil people."
Canada has pledged $4.5-million in humanitarian assistance and called for a ceasefire to safeguard the tens of thousands of civilians currently caught in the war zone amid intense fighting between the two sides but Sri Lanka has said it will not comply.
Read More: National Post
Posted by media at 11:27 PM
The LTTE leader had made a call through his satellite phone to Kumar Padmanathan alias ‘KP’ and asked him to take care of Prabhakaran’s wife and the children.
LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran is said to be guarded by some 50 hardcore Black Tigers, some of whom are said to be relatives of his wife Madivadani. He is reported to be changing bunkers and is now directly commanding the battle, with Bhanu, Jeyam, Theepan and Vidusha commanding the frontline, while Sea Tiger Leader Soosai has been deployed along the coast.
Well informed sources from Thailand revealed that the LTTE leader had made a call through his satellite phone to Kumar Padmanathan alias ‘KP’ and asked him to take care of Prabhakaran’s wife and the children. At the same time he has reportedly asked KP to lobby the international community to stop the war. Thereafter KP has had conversations with LTTE representatives in India, the USA, UK and the European Union.
When the LTTE mounted a counterattack in Mullaithivu, the target had been the 59 Division’s commandos. After foiling their attempt, the commandos said that the infiltrating LTTE cadres didn’t have enough supplies of arms and ammunition and their food too could not sustain a long stay in hiding.
Read More - 'The Bottom Line'
Posted by media at 10:43 AM
A policeman was killed when a group of suspected LTTE cadres attacked a Police post in Gonaganara in Buthala this morning
Posted by media at 10:42 AM
[COLOMBO , SinhalaNet 2009.03.04 07:23AM] Troops of 572 Brigade led by Colonel Senarath Bandara serving under 57 Division found three 130mm heavy artillery gun barrels and one 122mm artillery gun barrel from the Sugandhipuram area on Monday (3 March) morning.
Posted by media at 9:15 AM
Gotabhaya Rajapakse is the Key Behind Current Military Success Says Global Terror Expert - Prof. Rohan Gunaratna
Government understood that fighting terrorism is a collective effort. Unlike previous defense secretaries Gotabhaya Rajapaksa understood the importance of working with everyone. He built a first rate team drawing the leaders within the army, navy, airforce, intelligence, police, foreign ministry, and other government agencies and got them to work together. During the past two years sustained pressure was applied on the LTTE cripping the LTTE supoprt and operational networks. It was good government leadership that made the LTTE suffer.
Exclusive interview with Rohan Gunaratna by Udara Soysa
Q.How do you see the 2002 CFA signed by GOSL and LTTE? Do you believe that LTTE benefited from it?
A. LTTE made use of each and every ceasefire to regroup and resupply as a group. The LTTE cadres and leaders made use of every ceasefire to rest, recuperate, collect intelligence and strike back.
Q.Do you believe that government forces can capture Prabhakaran alive or eliminate him?
A.If the same degree of pressure can be maintained on the LTTE for two years, the LTTE can be dismantled.
Q. Do you believe that a military defeat of LTTE is evident?
A. Yes, but it is essential for government to continue to work with everyone. This includes the diplomatic missions, the NGOs, the human right lobby and other actors who have been traditionaly mislead or sympethetic to the LTTE.
Read More - Sri Lanka Guardian
Posted by media at 8:24 AM
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister, Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani of Pakistan telephoned President Mahinda Rajapaksa today (03 March 2009) in Kathmandu, to strongly condemn the terrorist attack on the visiting Sri Lanka Cricket team in Lahore today, in which several team members were injured. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama was associated with the President during the telephone discussions.
President Rajapaksa who is currently on a State Visit to Nepal, has decided to return to Sri Lanka cutting short his visit by a day, after completing his official engagements, as a result of this terrorist attack.
Both the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan conveyed their sincere apologies to the people and the Government of Sri Lanka for the harm caused to the Sri Lankan players by terrorists in Pakistan. They expressed their profound sympathy and concern for the welfare of the injured cricketers and assured President Rajapaksa that Pakistan is determined to combat terrorism and will work with the international community and Sri Lanka to defeat terrorism.
President Rajapaksa in response stated that he will be sending Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama to Islamabad immediately to meet Pakistan leaders to follow up matters pertaining to the incident. He reiterated Sri Lanka’s position that terrorism should be countered with firm resolve worldwide in all its forms and manifestations.
The President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan strongly supported President Rajapaksa’s call and agreed that this is a very unfortunate incident and that Sri Lanka and Pakistan are victims of terrorism and that both countries should stand together to urge the international community to combat terrorism.
President Rajapaksa thanked the Pakistan authorities for taking immediate action to provide medical treatment for the injured players and to strengthen security for the team. He expressed confidence that the culprits of this terrorist attack will be apprehended and brought to book at the earliest.
Following President Rajapaksa’s directive that a special flight be sent to Pakistan to bring the National Cricket team back home today, Foreign Minister Bogollagama has arranged the modalities of the operation from Kathmandu in coordination with the Sri Lankan High Commission in Islamabad and the Foreign Ministry in Colombo
Posted by media at 11:16 PM
MULLAITTIVU: STARTLING discoveries that are being made from Tiger strongholds amply prove that terrorists, thanks to technology that has been smuggled into the country during their heyday, have been experimenting on their own at will with money sent from the Diaspora. Those recoveries had been made from UDAYARKATTU, SUNDARAPURAM and VISUAMADU areas by the troops.
As the photos depict, those two pointed rocket-type experimental bombs of 10 ft in height with a separate launcher, according to experts, could go up as high as some 300 meters when ignited. Each bomb could accommodate 200 kg of C-4 explosives inside when in use, with the support of the separate barrel launcher that was also discovered. This man-made bomb, had it turned successful, would have brought a burning impact on an area, equivalent to some 1 Х 1 sq km according to military hardware experts.
Similarly, terrorists appeared to have experimented with the models of a 122 mm artillery gun plus a mini aircraft. The artillery gun, assembled in a huge hut was being given finishing touches at the time troops rolled on to the area and found them during subsequent search operations.
Posted by media at 9:11 PM
Either to surrender with security forces or to face total destruction
Troops of the 58 Division led by Brigadier Shavendra Silva and Task Force -8 troops led by Colonel Ravipriya under the command of Major General Kamal Goonarathne of the 53 Division, have entered the outskirts of LTTE's remaining garrison at Puthukkudiyiruppu, and reached the Puthkkudiyirippu junction following hours long fierce fighting that left scores of terrorists killed today (March 3) at around 9.30a.m.
LTTE resistances were totally neutralized by the forward domination elements of the 58 Division and Task Force - 8 that led the initial onslaughts to the heavily fortified LTTE foothold, following the breakout of intense in the area since February 20. Infantrymen of the 12(GR) Gajabha Regiment, 1GR and 4 VIR led the initial thrust into the Puthukkudiyirippu junction reportedly securing the town perimeters driving away the remaining LTTE resistances this morning. According to ground sources, terrorists have fled in total disarray in the face of inevitable defeat.
"The capture of the Puthukkudiyirippu junction, overall underscores the end game for LTTE" a defence observer said adding that they (LTTE) are only left with two potions, either to surrender with security forces or to face total destruction. The 10 and 12 GR troops flanked the western boundary of Puthukkudiririiupu while 9, 6 and 12GW troops led the offensive formations from Kombavil and Northwest of Puthukkudiyirippu. The 7(SR) Sinha Regiment, 10 and 11 SLLI troops also led assault formations into the LTTE garrison perimeters, security sources said. 1GR and 4VIR troops of the TF-8 have entered the junction advancing from South of the A- 35 Paranthan - Mullaittivu main road.
Troops are now consolidating defences in the area, while intense fighting is reported further east of Puthukkudiyirippu and Northwest at Iranapalai. More information will follow
Source: Defence Site
Posted by media at 10:46 AM
New Delhi, March 2 (PTI) Congress today steered clear from the issue of MDMK leader Vaiko's photograph and video with LTTE chief Prabhakaran, found by the Sri Lankan army, saying it will look into the issue.
"This is something new...We will look into the issue," party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters here.
Singhvi said the stand of the party remains the same. "It (LTTE) is a proscribed organisation in India. Dealing with it or supporting it remains an offence," he said.
The spokesman, however, said the date of the photo, its timing and context have to be examined.
Posted by media at 4:52 AM
(Colombo Lankapuvath March 02) Troops of the Sri Lanka Army were able to destroyed 10 LTTE boats in Chalai Mullaittivu in the early hours of today (02).
Troops attached to the 55 division of the SL army launched the attack on the Tiger boats at around 02.00am this morning said the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS). It is reported that around 15 LTTE boats had arrived to launch attacks on the SL troops in Chalai.
The SL troops have inflicted heavy damage on the LTTE terrorists said the MCNS
Posted by media at 2:19 AM
By Sunil Wimalawansa
(The writer is a Professor of Medicine based USA)
(March 01, Washington, Sri Lanka Guardian) Now that the physical eradication of Tamil-tiger terrorism (LTTE) is nearing its end, the country must focus on infrastructure and rehabilitation development programs. The economic bases – agriculture, infrastructure, tanks and irrigation systems – that were destroyed by terrorism need to be rebuilt. Sri Lanka lost the opportunity she had following the tsunami to build purpose-designed new cities in the affected area. This is the second chance for the government to plan and build well-designed energy efficient and pollution free (unsubsidized alternate energy programs) brand new cities and settlements in the North and Eastern regions in Sri Lanka.
The latter is critically important in these areas in order to accommodate those who fled the LTTE violence, and for those who are willing to relocate in these areas to get on with their lives. However, this needs to go hand-in-hand with the creation of job opportunities and the physical and psychological rehabilitation of those civilians and the armed force personnel who were injured and traumatized over the years of violence, as well as the surrendered terrorists.
Bastiaan Korner, The Hague Netherland’s former Ambassador to Sri Lanka (1992-96), on February 9th, 2009 stated that “it should be pointed out that in the past many efforts for peace and peace negotiations have been tried with the Tamil Tigers, but that they all have been violated and/or thwarted by the Tigers, a very ruthless terrorist organization, quite comparable to the Taliban.” It would be a sigh of relief and the beginning of a new era for all those involved in this conflict. Nevertheless, for the past few weeks, we have witnessed a wave of intensified fighting, while the desperate terrorists are using unusual and unexpected tactics including killing their captives to blame the armed-forces and forcefully using civilians as suicide bombers.
Several key international-NGOs are continuing to exaggerate the situation, yet doing very little to help those who are in need. There are multiple examples in Sri Lanka where I-NGOs have overstepped their humanitarian mandate and supported the LTTE terrorists who led Sri Lanka to this gruesome war killing thousands of innocent. Sri Lankan government must consider taking these INGOs either n local or international courts for violation of human rights in conjunction with the LTTE. It has been estimated that now there are currently estimated 40,000 civilian hostages that have been forcefully taken by the LTTE who are refusing to release them (External Link). They, together with fewer than 1,000 of LTTE carder, are now confined to a small area of about 50 square miles in the North Eastern part of Sri Lanka. In spite of LTTE brutality and captivity, many civilians have begun to escape from the terrorists who have kept them against their will in this jungle terrain.
Read More: Sri Lanka Guardian
Posted by media at 2:06 AM
Posted by media at 1:49 AM
Monday, March 2, 2009
COLOMBO: Sri Lanka appears to have been caught unawares by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s call to Colombo to make use of the ‘ceasefire offer’ made by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to ensure safe passage of civilians from conflict zones.
Asked about Saturday’s statement of Mr. Mukherjee, Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohana told The Hindu, “We have not received any formal or informal communication from India on the subject. It would not be proper for me to comment on media reports.”
Dr. Kohana said Sri Lanka for several weeks now had been urging the Tigers to lay down arms and free civilians whom they continue to hold in Wanni. “Once they lay down arms, it would automatically lead to a ceasefire.”
Mr. Mukherjee’s call was based on a ceasefire offer by the Tigers in a letter to Sri Lanka Co-Chairs on February 23. While agreeing to cooperate with the international community for a ceasefire, the letter had argued that it would not be ‘helpful’ to pressure the Tigers to lay down arms.
The offer was rejected by Sri Lanka. On Saturday, Colombo welcomed the U.N. Special Envoy’s appeal to the world community to influence the Tigers to lay down arms.
The Foreign Ministry, in a statement, referred to the briefing given by the Under-Secretary-General of the U.N., Sir John Holmes, to the Security Council and maintained that the consensus at the Council was that the Tigers must lay down arms.
Last week Sir John Holmes visited Sri Lanka at President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s invitation for a first-hand assessment of the ground situation. Officials here maintained that his briefing to the Security Council did not result in a ceasefire call to Sri Lanka from the Security Council, but general agreement that the LTTE must lay down arms and ease suffering of civilians.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Navy said it transported the sixth batch of civilians, including patients requiring immediate medical attention, to Trincomalee by the m.v. Green Ocean from Mullaithivu district.
A Defence Ministry statement said that from February 10, the Navy had assisted in rescuing of 1,907 civilians, including large number of patients, by the vessel. It said this was in addition to the large number of civilians rescued by the Navy sea units.
Source: The Hindu
Posted by media at 9:31 AM
1 Mar 2009 - 15:04
Sri Lanka Navy has facilitated rescuing of 281 civilians held captive by the LTTE terrorists in Mullaittivu. Navy sources said that, the 6th batch of civilians including patients requiring immediate medical attention was transported to Trincomalee by the "MV Greed Ocean" yesterday (Feb 28). The Navy provided the safe passage for the vessel carrying civilians from Mullaittivu and received the passengers at Trincomalee harbour.
Navy medical teams provided immediate medical treatment to the needy patients upon disembarkation and rushed them to the government hospital Trincomalee for further treatment.
MV Green Ocean has been charted by the government of Sri Lanka in order to rescue civilians held as human shield by the LTTE terrorists in Mullaittivu. The International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) sails the ship under its flag. The Government Hospital of Trincomalee has been sufficiently staffed and provided with adequate stocks of medicine by the Health Ministry of Sri Lanka in order to meet the requirement.
According to the Navy source, the last batch of civilians included 95 men, 128 women and 58 children. Out of them 65 men and 72 females were patients.
From 10th February 2009, Sri Lanka navy has assisted rescuing of 1907 civilians including large number of patients by MV Green Ocean. This was in addition to the large number of civilians rescued by Sri Lanka navy sea units deployed in the Northeastern coastal waters.
Posted by media at 9:26 AM
LTTE DRAMA ON ABDUCTION OF CHILDREN FROM “SAFE ZONE” DEPRIVES ADULT’S LIFE; ALL THREE TERRORISTS KILLED
MULLAITTIVU: AN ADVENTUROUS act of a Tamil adult who sacrificed his own life in defence of innocent children flocking into the “Safe Zone” declared for civilians was reported this morning (01) from MULLAITTIVU.
The drama started with the entry of three LTTE terrorists with weapons into the “Safe Zone” and attempted to abduct children for conscription to the LTTE organization which is now short of fighting cadres.
But that terrorist act was instantly objected by the displaced people at the location generating a heated argument between them and the terrorists.
The verbal tussle reached its climax when the terrorists ignored the public protest and repeatedly attempted to take some children forcibly away.
In the melee, one of the elderly men snatched the weapon of a terrorist and went on firing at those three LTTE terrorists who showed up to conscript minors who had sought safety inside the “Safe Zone”.
Gun shots fired by the angry adult killed all three terrorists on the spot and the situation calmed down afterwards.
However, the senior citizen who tried himself to give protection to children also received injuries in the LTTE retaliatory fire and succumbed to injuries later on.
Several aid and relief agency workers have openly condemned the LTTE act at the venue itself and had subsequently alerted their capital-based headquarters on the gruesome incident.
It is believed the slain adult who objected to the child conscription would have been given forcible and compulsory weapon training by the LTTE before he entered the “Safe Zone” after deserting the terrorist organization.
Source: SL Army
Posted by media at 9:24 AM
Insisting that LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran was a “creation” of his supporters, a former Tiger commander and now a pro-government MP has claimed the rebel leader never came to the battlefield to fight.
Insisting that Tamils in the Island nation do not want a separate state but equal rights, Karuna Amman alias V Muralitharan said Prabhakaran did not do anything for Tamils.
“Prabhakaran is a creation. Some of the leaders including myself had created Prabhakaran. When we were winning the battle Prabhakaran become more popular. He never came to the battlefront or to meet the people,” Karuna told the state run Sunday Observer.
Karuna alias Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan split from Prabhakaran towards the end of 2004 and formed the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) party that now heads the coalition government in Eastern Province.
“I motivated the cadres as well as the people. I have already told the people in the East I need their support to destroy Prabhakaran. We should do that because he did not do anything for the Tamils in the country,” he said.
In reply to a query on whether the Tamils in Sri Lanka desired a separate nation, Karuna said :“it is equal rights that Tamils need to enjoy. Tamils do not want separate country or political rights but need the benefits that Colombo people enjoy. They need development, peaceful life, education and entertainment”.
Source: Hindustan Times
Posted by media at 9:08 AM
An attempt by a suspected pro-LTTE man to commit suicide as a protest ended up unsuccessfully for the second time in London, when he had to be admitted to a hospital with superficial burns and his condition described as not critical on Friday.
The London Metropolitan Police said he was on fire for a short time just outside the Parliament Square in Central London. It is suspected he was attempting self-immolation as a protest against the Sri Lankan security forces that are on the verge of defeating the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in their last remaining bastion in the Wanni.
A police spokesman said, at approx 1600hrs on Friday, February 27, a man was seen alight in Parliament Square SW1. Police officers came to his aid and the fire was extinguished. The 43-year-old was taken to a South London hospital and it is thought he may have suffered superficial burns and his condition is certainly not critical.
On February 14, when more than 5,000 Sri Lankans were demonstrating in front of the official residence of British Prime Minister at 10, Downing Street against the LTTE another pro-LTTE man attempted to burn himself by pouring an incendiary fuel on his body but the police arrested him and he is still in the remand jail.
Days before that another suspected pro-LTTE man poured gasoline on his body and set himself on fire and committed suicide in Geneva, Switzerland. All are British residents.
Suicides are rampant among Tamils and the LTTE is a leading group who practices suicide bombing as a political weapon mostly against civilians.
Posted by media at 3:19 AM
The will to succeed and confidence in one’s self has already helped President Mahinda Rajapaksa, unlike his dithering predecessor governments, to successfully go ahead with the urgently needed Coal Power Plant at Norochcholai and take the war to the LTTE, against the advice of local and foreign experts, who were only pushing their own agendas. Unknown to most people in the country, the Government is now quietly pulling off yet another success. The building of a purpose built deep water harbour at Hambantota. Ahead of schedule and supplementing this massive development is an equally ambitious new town, with all modern facilities, now taking shape, almost adjacent to the Port
According to Chinese engineers involved in the Port project, the first phase of the Hambantota Harbour will be completed at a cost of US$ 361 million by January 15, 2011, four months ahead of the scheduled completion date.
Even here, some are still trying to make out that the new harbour would be part of a “string of pearls” (ports) that China is strategically building across vital shipping lanes of Asia, for use in the event of a future global conflict. Sri Lanka Ports Authority’s (SLPA) Chief Engineer Janaka Kurukulasuriya, who is overseeing this vital project, simply dismisses such criticisms. “It is a total myth to say this is going to be a Chinese port, for the simple reason the Chinese firms, China Harbour Engineering Co. Ltd. and Sino Hydro Corporation, have only been contracted to build it on a US$ 307 million loan provided by the China ExIm Bank. Beyond that, everything is in our hands, including much of the planning and supervision of the project. Once the project is completed, it will be entirely under the SLPA”, he said adding “There will be no Chinese say in the harbour, once it is completed.”
The SLPA too, has already spent more than Rs 2,000 million, to facilitate the project, having paid US$ 49 million for startup costs of the contractors, Rs 600 million in compensation, paid to private lands and houses acquired for the purpose, and meeting costs of new roads, relocation of utilities such as electricity and telephone lines etc. that were moved to the new Galle Road, from the stretch of Galle Road from Mirijjawela to the other side of Karagam Saltern, which has become part of the new Port.
Posted by media at 3:12 AM
Pulidevan under house arrest
By Tissa Ravindra Perera
Four senior LTTE leaders including the head of its Peace Secretariat Pulidevan who were caught by the Tigers while attempting to flee with civilians to government controlled areas have been placed under house arrest.
This has been revealed by civilians who fled from LTTE controlled areas. LTTE Intelligence Wing Leader Pottu Amman has ordered that Pulidewan, Ilampar Dee, Pravi and Mama who attempted to flee to government controlled areas with the civilians to be detained and shot. About 30 others including two LTTE Colonels who deserted ranks and fled earlier with the civilians to the government controlled areas were arrested by the security forces.
Among them were the head of a military training school and the leader of an explosive storage camp who fled with their families. One of them had deserted ranks due to a controversy with Prabhakaran’s son Charles Anthony.
The civilians revealed that Pottu Amman ordered the members of LTTE martyr families who attempt to flee to be shot dead.
It has been revealed that his order would prevent several other LTTE leaders who are prepared to flee from the area with their families from doing so.
Posted by media at 2:57 AM
Sunday, March 1, 2009
The Sri Lankan government is not committing genocide in the North, said Charu Lata Hogg of Human Rights Watch.
It is the LTTE which is forcibly holding innocent civilians as a human shield and shoot at them when they try to flee. There are certainly international guidelines which have to be met in a conflict situation. Sri Lanka cannot just be accused of genocide.
Ms. Hogg was participating in a discussion, "Reactive Media Talk: Sri Lanka - a hollow victory?", held in London on February 24, organized by Frontline Club.
She said that more than 2000 civilians were killed and over 5000 injured since January 2009 in the Northern battlefront in Sri Lanka. "Both Government troops and the LTTE are responsible for that. It is not only the Sri Lankan Army -- there have been killings and shootings by the LTTE as well. A large number of injuries have been caused to civilians as a result of the LTTE firing at them, Hogg said.
She also said around 40,000 civilians have already escaped from LTTE clutches and reached government controlled areas. They are being looked after by the government in welfare centres.
At this point, a group of Tamils in the audience tried to heckle her.
Priyath Liyanage of BBC Sinhala Service chaired this discussion while R. Jayadevan of the Alliance for Peace and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka, Pearl Thevanayagam and Francis Harrison (Journalists) and Charu Lata Hogg (Human Rights Watch) were in the panel. Leader publisher Lal Wickrematunge joined the discussion from Colombo over the phone.
Posted by media at 11:03 PM
Sri Lankan soldiers of Army 58 Division have made a startling discovery exposing an abominable conspiracy against Sri Lankan citizens. The soldiers have found several recently taken photographs and video footages from a building earlier occupied by the LTTE terrorists showing certain South Indian politicians in LTTE camps in Wanni .
According to the defence sources in Puthukkudiyiruppu, the items have been found by the infantrymen of 6 Gamunu Watch (6GW) this afternoon (Feb 28), while engaged in clearing operations at the captured LTTE satellite communication center, in Puthukkudiyiruppu West.
Defence.lk special correspondent in Puthukkudiyiruppu said there were number of photographs showing some of the South Indian politicians championing tribalism, actively participating terrorist activities in Wanni.
Leader of MDMK party in Tamil Nadu , Mr. Viko had been photographed in LTTE uniform, firing pistols with LTTE leader V. Prbhakaran, delivering brain-washing lectures to the LTTE terrorist, and having discussions with Prbahakaran, said our correspondent.
"There were photographs of several other South Indian politicians involved in LTTE activities including of Mr. Nadumaran", he said.
Meanwhile an analyst speaking defence.lk, expressed his surprise on the shameless relationships, these South Indian politicians are having with the convicted murderer of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Ghandhi.
" Prabhakaran has called Mr.Viko as the person who would link the Tamil Eelam to the Tamil Nadu one day...these photographs reveal that the plans for a greater Tamil Eleam had been already on the way" , the analyst said.
The analyst further said that Mr. Viko's ceaseless attempt to save LTTE from a military defeat might have reasons other than his so-called interest in the Sri Lankan Tamils.
"Perhaps, he is afraid of the dark truths that would surface with the end of the LTTE", he added.
Meanwhile, an LTTE attempt to launch a national TV station for its utopian state of Tamil Eelam has been exposed by a video tape found at the captured satellite communication centre.
According to our correspondent, the video tape contains a trailer created for the "National Television of Tamil Eelam" and news segments produced in Tamil, Sinhala and English languages. The news segments had been produced similar to the news telecast of Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation.
"When watching at the news segments produced by the LTTE, it is clear that their intentions was to reduce the public support in the South to the counter terrorist move"
" They had been copying the new segments produced by embedded media teams of government and private TV channels and trying to counter them with false news segments produced by the LTTE propagandists", defence.lk correspondent said.
"There were many leading news items based on comments made treacherous politicians in the South to belittle the commitment of the war heroes, aimed at character assassination of the President, Secretary Defence and the chiefs of the Armed Force, etc...it seems that the LTTE leadership like some of politicians in the South, has been desperate over the public support enjoyed by the government"
Meanwhile, a senior member of an embedded media team inspected the captured Seattleite equipment and said that the LTTE was planning to transmit its programs via satellites. He said that the items were donated by Norway to the LTTE during the UNP government in 2002. According to him, the satellite station that the LTTE had here was similar to the national earth stations at Piduruthalagala and Padukka.
Source: Defence Web Site
Posted by media at 10:50 PM