Despite its military defeat at the hands of the Sri Lankan government in 2009, the LTTE’s international network of sympathizers and financial support still persists, a US State Department report said.
The annual Country Report on Terrorism for 2014 was released yesterday (Friday) by the US State Department.
The report noted that there have been no known attacks in Sri Lanka that could verifiably be attributed to the LTTE since the end of the war, but a total of 13 LTTE supporters, several of which had allegedly planned attacks against U.S. and Israeli diplomatic facilities in India, were arrested in Malaysia in 2014.
The report noted that in the past the LTTE was responsible for an integrated battlefield insurgent strategy that targeted key installations and senior Sri Lankan political and military leaders.
It conducted a sustained campaign targeting rival Tamil groups, and assassinated Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi of India in 1991 and President Ranasinghe Premadasa of Sri Lanka in 1993. Although most notorious for its cadre of suicide bombers, the Black Tigers, LTTE also had an amphibious force, the Sea Tigers, and a nascent air wing, the Air Tigers. Fighting between the LTTE and the Sri Lanka government escalated in 2006 and continued through 2008.
In early 2009, Sri Lankan forces recaptured the LTTE’s key strongholds, including their capital of Kilinochchi. In May 2009, government forces defeated the last LTTE fighting forces, killed LTTE leader Prabhakaran and other members of the LTTE leadership and military command, and declared military victory.
Meanwhile, the report also noted that in March 2014, the government announced it had designated 16 organizations and 422 individuals as terrorist entities and/or facilitating terrorist financing designed to help revive the LTTE. The Sri Lankan government did not provide information regarding criteria for designation or any supporting evidence.
A team from the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Director’s office, which visited Sri Lanka in October 2014, expressed concerns the designation process may not have met UN standards. (Colombo Gazette)