Sri Lanka: Explosive Reminders Of The Past

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September 16, 2009: Troops and police continue to find LTTE arms stockpiles. There are apparently thousands of these, holding everything from a few grenades, a pistol and ammo, to larger ones holding mortars, explosives for bombs and multiple machine-guns and rifles.

Also left behind are thousands of landmines, planted in unmarked minefields. The government is frantically importing mine clearing equipment (which enables one man to clear 5,000 square meters a day, versus 10 square meters a day doing it manually). The mine detecting gear is also safer than the manual methods. Most of the Tamil refugees up north, cannot return home until the mines are cleared from their villages. Then their farmland and surrounding trails have to be cleared as well.  The U.S. has contributed demining gear, and other foreign nations are being solicited as well.

While the LTTE has been smashed inside Sri Lanka, the organization survives among expatriates. The fund raisers are still there, as are the media activists and, it is feared, the terrorist organization. This is a common pattern, after a rebel group has been defeated in its homeland, it often evolves into a criminal gang (as happened with the Italian mafia and Irish IRA). Some of the remaining LTTE operatives will resume terror attacks, and some of these will be in their newly adopted homes. Counter-terror officials in countries with large Tamil populations are alert to the danger, and trying to spot the terrorists and round them up, before the blood starts flowing again. Meanwhile, some of the LTTE fundraisers have already turned into common criminals. What began as fund raising for "the cause", evolves in an extortion scheme for a bunch of gangsters. In some expatriate Tamil communities, the LTTE fundraisers had already evolved to the point where extortion, not exhortation, was the favored method of extracting donations.

September 12, 2009: In the north, troops discovered a large cache of LTTE documents, carefully wrapped to preserve them. Intel analysts are examining this haul for indications of what the remnants of the LTTE have planned, and how they operated in the past.

September 7, 2009: The government has expelled a UN official for spreading lies about how the LTTE and Tamil refugees have been handled. Over the last decade, the UN, and NGOs in general, have become more political. Rather than just do relief work, the NGO officials often take sides (sometimes openly, sometimes not). The government found much evidence, in the liberated north, of NGO collusion with the LTTE, and consider many NGO workers pro-terrorist. The NGOs deny all and insist that they are only doing good work.

September 4, 2009: The police are expanding by 3,500 personnel, to handle the additional needs in the newly liberated (from the LTTE) territory up north.

September 3, 2009:  The government calls an "execution video" (showing what appears to be Sri Lankan soldiers executing Tamil civilians) a fake. The video showed up on British TV news casts late last month.

 

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