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DateLine Sunday, 3 June 2007

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Tigers through a testing process

Sitrep The Tiger outfit is now going through a testing process to get the upper hand of the situation as they are rapidly losing the ground in the East and now in the North.

First they tested their air capabilities to panic and disturb the country on March 26 with their failed attempt to attack Katunayaka Air Base.

They selected the target with the multiple objective of destroying the fighter jets of the Sri Lanka Air Force and also to cripple the economy of the country.

But they failed in their endeavour, because they could not reach their targets effectively but made their second failed attempt to attack Palaly Air base and the third in Colombo by dropping crude bombs at Kerawalapitiya gas storage facility and Orugodawatta oil storage facility.


Hindu devotees are free to celebrate a religious ceremony devoted to Lord Murugan in the Colombo suburb of Wattala.

Now they have realized that it would not be an easy task to fly all the way from Wanni and drop a few crude bombs in Colombo and fly back to Wanni safely.

The LTTE is well aware, despite the fact that Security forces are now fully equipped to face the challenge, the Forces will effectively face the challenge mobilizing all available resources with them since the obsolete air capability of the LTTE is no longer a surprising factor for them.

The things they expected through the display of their air power did not come as the way they expected things to happen.

The ultimate result, they received was the international isolation with many countries out rightly rejecting them as a terror organization. Neighbouring India too came out with much more security measures to face such threat from the LTTE as India is well aware of the unpredictable nature of the Tiger outfit.


Army soldier keeps guard during a ceremony to inaugurate War Heroes’ Month in Colombo. The annual remembrance ceremonies were held islandwide to pay tribute to thousands of soldiers and police who were killed in action.

The Tiger outfit lost the faith of India once again as their duplicitous role was exposed not only to India but also to the entire international community once the Indian fishing vessel which was forcibly taken away by the LTTE along with 12 Indian fishermen, was sunk by Maldivian Coast Guard, while it was engaged in arms smuggling mission and with the release of 11 fishermen detained by the LTTE.

All these failed attempts were focused on one objective. That was to bring pressure on the Government, both locally and internationally to relax the military pressure on the LTTE in the North and in the East.

Exploding bombs proved the fact and once again deeply involved in the process of proving to the international community that they have no boundaries to their terror acts though they very frequently lay down conditions and boundaries in their approach towards democracy.

The Tiger outfit within the last two weeks once again revert to their older tactic of exploding bombs in Colombo and suburbs. Eight civilians were killed and 36 people including four STF commandoes were injured in the claymore explosion in Belek Kade junction, Ratmalana in rush hour traffic.

The claymore mine explosion in Ratmalana took place just four days after the bomb blast in Reclamation in Colombo.

Though the Tiger outfit was able to send shock waves in the South through these two bombs, as a whole they exhibited their bankrupt position through these two bombs since they are not in a position to take major targets such as VVIP targets and economic targets in Colombo to which they display its capability earlier.

The targets they had taken were soft targets as they are not in a apposition to accomplish their plans so easily as Security Forces and the Police has given a severe blow to the nerve centres of the Tiger network in Colombo and suburbs specially after their failed attempt to assassinate Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on December 1 last year.

Many of the sleeper LTTE cadres waiting in Colombo and suburbs had to flee from Colombo as they feared being arrested by the Security Forces and the Police with the intensified surveillance in an around Colombo to nab such sleeper LTTE cadres with the revelation of the fact that many suicide cadres were awaiting in Colombo disguising themselves as Muslims while engaged in various jobs giving false names.

Investigations revealed that the suicide cadre who made an attempt on the life of Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa lived in Colombo for may years disguised as a Muslim three wheeler driver.

With these changes the LTTE, threatened the Sri lankan Government that they would bring war to Colombo and the South if any attempt was made to take on their defences in the North and the East could not turn their words in to action due to far sighted actions taken by the Security Forces and the Police to strengthen the security in Colombo and the suburbs.

Therefore, the claims of the LTTE political wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan to bring war to the south is no longer a realistic one for the LTTE with their broken and shattered network in Colombo.

But they made desperate attempts to put an end to the Security Forces attempts to contain the Tiger activities in Colombo and suburbs after putting pressure on the Government once their cadres were frequently arrested by the Security Forces and the Police. They effectively engaged in a campaign with the backing of the southern polity to highlight the arrest of these suspected Tiger cadres as human rights violations by the Security Forces and the Police.

The prime aim of that attempt too was to bring international pressures on the Government to put a stop to Government's fight against terrorism.

Create mayhem

Despite their consecutive failures, the Tiger outfit has not yet given up their efforts to create mayhem in Colombo, the explosive filled lorry detected at Kotawehera in Nikaweratiya was a classic example to show that they had not given up the idea of creating a major disaster in Colombo.

A Police Sergeant at Kotawehera road block on suspicion stopped the lorry and found it was transporting a load of coconut.

Over one thousand Kilo grams of C4 explosives concealed in side the lorry packed in 37 bags containing 26 Kgs of C4 explosives and nine bags containing ten Kgs of explosives with detonate cord were detected from the lorry.

According to investigations the lorry has been frequently travelled along this road to familiarize with road blocks in the guise of transporting coconut.

If they were given free access to Colombo, the damage they could do using these explosives cannot be estimated.

The Tiger outfit is making all these attempts as they have realized the fact that small incidents like Ratmalana and Colombo cannot make a bigger impact on the people and also to the Government, as they get used to this type of incidents throughout the three decade long history of the conflict.

But the LTTE has not given up their task, like the way people in the south reacting to these incidents by easily forgetting them. They would resort to new methods if they failed to achieve their objectives through these tactics as the tiger outfit is now desperately in need of coming out of the current mess in the North and the East.

They are not willing to come to the negotiation table as the military balance is no longer with them since the inception of hostilities between the Security forces and the LTTE in July last year.

According to estimates by the Security Forces 50 per cent of Tiger fighting capabilities have gone down within the past ten months with over 2000 cadres killed at the hands of the Security Forces within this period.

At the same time, a number of cadres have been injured in these military operations.

The Tiger outfit too is running short of areas to recruit more Tamil youth to the outfit as they lost control over the entire eastern population.

Mortar attacks

The Tiger leader Velupillai Prabakaran very wisely understood this situation, when resorting to another tactic to change the situation in favour of the LTTE.

The mortar attacks on Ethawetunuweva in Weli Oya sector was one such effort they made to change the situation in favour of the LTTE.

Nearly 600 civilians left the village and had taken shelter in Parakramapura in the aftermath of the incident where the village came under LTTE attack on two consecutive days, first killing one soldier and injuring four civilians and secondly injuring one Army officer a soldier and few civilians.

It has been learnt that the Tiger mortar fire had come from Nedunkerni direction where LTTE was having their gun positions. One objective expected by the LTTE through this attack has already been achieved with civilians fleeing from their villages.

That was what the Tiger outfit was expecting through these attacks. When people flee from their villages the Tiger outfit will be definitely be benefited from this situation as the Tigers can move freely in that area and can create a land route connecting Weli Oya sector with the Tigers trapped in Peraru jungles.

On the other hand the pressures put on the Government and then on the Security Forces by these displaced civilians will resulted in military operation in the Weli Oya sector compelling the Security Forces to induct additional troops to the area.

At a time Security Forces heavily engaged in the West of Omanthai and east of Madhu area, the LTTE will greatly benefit from this situation as the concentration of the Security Forces will be divided into two sectors.

People leave villages

But according to ground sources these people had left their villages not in fear of the Tiger mortar attacks. They made use of this opportunity to pressuring the Government to come and solve their problems that had been existed for more than decades. Many of the people in Weli Oya sector are facing administrative problems as they do not come under one administrative district.

For administrative purposes they come under Mullaitivu district and they do not get any opportunity to go to Mullaitivu to attend their administrative works.

At the same time students also facing problems though they come under Mullaitivu district, for education purpose they have been classified under Vavuniya district putting them in more disadvantageous situation.

According to officials there in Weli Oya, Parakramapura, they have left their villages to draw the attention of the Government and the Ministers towards their problems.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Government officials and the Minister s to visit them and solve their problems speedily so that they can be resettled in their villages ensuring their safety.

However, the Government is continuing with its fight against terrorism fearlessly committing themselves for a negotiated settlement to the North east problem.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has given clear indication that he would continue the fight against terrorism to see an end to the problem saying that he would not kneel down before Prabhakaran for the sake of peace.

Therefore any external pressures on the Government should also recall the fact that LTTE was not willing to accept the political solution provided through the Indo Sri Lanka Peace Agreement.

The LTTE resorted to violence and even assassinated Rajiv Gandhi, the person initiated to bring the LTTE into negotiation table.

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