The Web Sri Lanka In Focus

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Explosives' seizures worry Tamil Nadu cops

Discoveries of explosives' caches in two Tamil Nadu districts Sunday worried state police officials on a day the US government indicated increased Maoist activity in Tamil Nadu since last year.

Home ministry sources here admitted that a PMK worker K. Ilanchezhiyan was taken into custody in Kanchipuram district 60 km from here for illegally possessing several country made bombs.

Prem Anand Sinha, Perambalur district superintendent of police, said on telephone that a huge stash of unaccounted explosives was seized from a stone quarry following an explosion that killed one person.

"We are worried at instances of unrecorded explosives cropping up in the state, but are hopeful of success within a week," a top official told IANS.

The two incidents were reported within a 250 km southward radius of capital Chennai.

Significantly, two persons died in an explosion last year in Ilanchezhiyan's farm.

The US government had said that there were 971 instances of Maoist activities in India during the first seven months in 2007.

In July 2007, a civic official was killed when an IED went off under his car in Sivaganga (constituency of Finance Minister P. Chidambaram) within days of newspaper reports alleging presence of over 600 Maoists in the foothills of the Western Ghats on Tamil Nadu's border with Kerala, 400 km south of Chennai. Four of them were caught by alert locals.

Top police officials denied links between Sunday's incidents and increased extreme left-wing political activity in the state - though three Maoists were killed in encounters in Tamil Nadu during the last 35 days.

Significantly, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi chided PMK founder Ramadoss Saturday for repeatedly being an impediment to the state's developmental activities following the latter's verbal assault against creation of Special Economic Zones to benefit major business houses, a well-known left-wing stand.

The left, along with PMK, prop up the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam regime in Tamil Nadu.

Statistics provided by the state government admit that 87 cases have been registered against "agent provocateurs" owing allegiance to the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam for smuggling ordnance to Sri Lanka since the DMK came to power in Tamil Nadu in 2006.

Seven of them belong to the self-styled Tamil culture vigilantes PMK and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi - both allies of the DMK and apologists of the LTTE espousing a left-of-centre political disposition.

Source: newkerala

LTTE unloaded three shiploads of arms in two months: Report

Despite the Sri Lankan Navy’s claim that it had destroyed all 10 arms ships of the Tamil Tiger rebels, the country’s intelligence agencies have revealed that the guerrillas unloaded at least three shiploads of military hardware in the last two months, a media report here said Sunday. It said that intense use of heavy artillery shells by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the northeastern Weli Oya and northern Wanni and Jaffna fronts has “raised fresh concerns” about the LTTE’s ability to replenish their dwindling armoury regularly.

“The general impression among the public was that the LTTE had been starved of military supplies since the navy destroyed a fleet of LTTE vessels which functioned as floating armouries for the group. However, recent reports by intelligence agencies suggest otherwise,” the English weekly Lakbima News said in its defence column Sunday.

“They (intelligence reports) paint a gloomy picture, revealing that the LTTE had unloaded three shiploads of arms during the months of February and March,” it said.

Quoting a recent report “filed by the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) and presented to the National Security Council”, the media report said a shipload of arms was smuggled to the Wanni March 12.

“Another report by the State Intelligence Services (SIS) stated that two vessels had been unloaded by the LTTE during Feb 16-17. These consignments were transferred to trawlers from ships anchored in the deep seas and unloaded in Chalai, Mullaitivu and Veththilaikerny on the northeastern coast,” it said.

According to the media report, the recent developments in the battlefront “appear to substantiate the findings of these two reports” with the significant increase in artillery and mortar attacks by the LTTE being observed during recent battles, including the one that left over 200 combatants killed and nearly 1000 wounded on both sides in Muhamalai in the northern Jaffna Peninsula April 23.

Source: thaindian

43 LTTE militants, seven soldiers killed in gunbattles

At least 43 Tamil Tigers and seven soldiers were killed in running gunbattles between the rebels and the security forces in the embattled northern Sri Lanka, the military said here today.

As many as 10 LTTE rebels were killed and 10 others injured when the army launched a massive offensive yesterday and captured an area of 1.5 sq km in Puliyankulam Mannar, it said.

Six LTTE cadres were killed in Janakapura in North-east Welioya yesterday, the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) said adding two soldiers also lost their lives during the confrontation.

In another clash later in the day, army gunned down seven tiger rebels in North Janakapura in Welioya, it said. Two soldiers were also killed in the gunbattle.

As many as four tiger militants were gunned down in Kokkuthduwai in Welioya yesterday, the defence ministry said.

Separately, the security forces gunned down four rebel fighters in Kiribanwewa while three soldiers lost their life in a confrontation in Adankulam in Welioya yesterday.

At least four tiger militants were shot dead in Adampan area of North-western Mannar yesterday while six rebels and a soldier were killed during a clash in Nadulkandal area in the region.

Separately, the army gunned down two LTTE cadres in Palampiddi area, North of Madhu in Vavuniya yesterday

Source: PTI

Sri Lanka military denies report that 2,000 troops killed in 2007

Sri Lanka's military Sunday denied a report saying more than nine times as many of its soldiers have been killed in clashes with Tamil rebels in 2007 than officially stated.

The English-language Sunday Times said Sri Lanka's top army general Sarath Fonseka told a briefing of military commanders last week that 2,000 troops were killed and 4,000 injured during in 2007, compared to an official tally of 213 dead and 829 injured.

"I myself was not present at that meeting. But we did not have so many casualty figures last year," army spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told AFP in refuting the newspaper story.

Fonseka, who was severely injured by a Tamil rebel suicide bomber in April 2006, told the military commanders that security forces killed 5,000 Tiger cadres last year, the Sunday Times said.

The military had earlier estimated the Tigers' strength between 3,000 and 5,000 combatants and announced at the start of 2008 that they would be able to wipe out the rebels within six months.

According to the military, fighting since January 2008 killed 3,359 rebels and 246 soldiers died during the same period. The figure comes on top of military claims that 2,752 Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) cadres were killed in 2007 which would total 6,111 rebels dead in the past 16 months.

Both sides are known to downplay their own casualty figures and inflate enemy losses. Casualty figures cannot be independently verified as Colombo prevents media and rights groups from visiting embattled areas.

Tens of thousands have died since LTTE launched a separatist campaign for an independent homeland in 1972.

Source: AFP