The Web Sri Lanka In Focus

Thursday, 1 May 2008

British police get more time to quiz Tamil Tiger suspects

British police have been given more time to question three men held as part of a police probe into the Tamil Tiger guerrillas in Sri Lanka, a spokesman said Thursday.

Detectives have been granted until Tuesday to hold the trio at the high-security Paddington Green police station in London.

"We got an extension which expires on May 6," a Metropolitan Police spokesman told AFP.

The trio were arrested on suspicion of the "commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism" in dawn raids Tuesday.

Two men aged 39 and 46 were arrested at separate addresses in Newtown, central Wales. A third, aged 33, was held in Mitcham, southwest London.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who are fighting for a separate Tamil state in the north and east of Sri Lanka, are designated a proscribed terrorist organisation under Britain's Terrorism Act 2000.

Government officials and senior police officers believe large sums of money are collected in Britain to fund attacks in Sri Lanka.

Tamil Tiger activists are also suspected of involvement in widespread credit card scams, fraud and extortion.

The arrests were the latest development in a lengthy investigation aimed at flushing out sympathisers.

The rebels have been fighting to carve out an independent homeland for the island's Tamil minority since 1972. Tens of thousands have died on both sides in the conflict in the Sinhalese-majority nation.

Last November, the founder of a breakaway faction of the Tamil Tigers, Colonel Karuna Amman, was arrested in a joint operation by British police and immigration officials.

No details have been released of where he was detained or whether Sri Lanka will begin extradition proceedings.

Source: AFP

Fighting kills 73 in Sri Lanka

A roadside bomb suspected to have been planted by Tamil Tiger rebels killed two police commandos on Thursday while Sri Lankan troops captured a rebel base in the north west, the military said.

The capture of the rebel camp in Mannar comes a week after one of the bloodiest battles in the country's long civil war in the same area.

"Advancing troops...brought the entire area under control on Wednesday," a spokesman at the Media centre for National security said.

The military said a suspected rebel roadside bomb in central Anuradhapura killed two police commandos, while police retaliation killed two rebels.

The military said fighting in the far north a day earlier, killed 25 Tamil Tiger rebels and injured 37 while four solders died and 14 were injured.

Fighting between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has intensified since the government formally pulled out of a 6-year-old ceasefire pact in January, though a renewed civil war has been raging since 2006.

Source: Reuters