Friday, May 02, 2008

Sri Lanka: US State Department says LTTE uses extortion and charitable organizations for fundraising

Source: Ministry of Defence, Public Security, Law & Order - Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. Courtesy: Daily News

Republished for information and discussion only. This report does not necessarily reflect the views of Mike Hitchen Consulting

The LTTE continued to finance itself with contributions from the Tamil Diaspora in North America, Europe, and Australia, by imposing local "taxes" on businesses operating in the areas it dominates and reportedly by extortion operations in Government-controlled areas, the US State Department said yesterday.

The Department's just-released Country Report on Terrorism said the LTTE also used Tamil charitable organizations as fronts for its fundraising.

"In November, the US Government designated under Executive Order 13224 and froze the US-held assets of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization, a charity associated with the LTTE. The LTTE previously used such funds for weapons purchases on the international black market and also captured arms from Sri Lankan security forces. The Sri Lankan Navy sunk three LTTE supply ships in September and another in October," the report said.

After a period of targeting Sri Lankan military and official personnel throughout 2007, the LTTE appears to have recently resumed its targeting of civilians, the Report noted.

It said the Government took effective control of the Eastern Province in midyear, but the LTTE continued to control much of the north and carried out attacks throughout the country.

The Sri Lankan Army remained deployed across the country in all areas it controlled to fight the insurgency.

The Special Task Force (STF) police were deployed both in the East and in strategic locations in the West.

In late November and December, government forces increased activity against targets in the North.

"The LTTE and the Karuna faction were charged with forced conscription and child recruitment. In general, the LTTE did not intentionally target U.S. citizens or assets, limiting attacks to Sri Lankan security forces, political figures, civilians, and businesses.

However, attacks occurred within the vicinity of the U.S. embassy and personnel; the U.S. Ambassador was travelling in a helicopter that came under mortar fire in February. The LTTE subsequently apologized for the incident," the report added.

It recalled that Sri Lankan cooperation with the FBI resulted in arrests of persons charged with material support to terrorist groups.

The U.S. provided training for relevant Sri Lankan government agencies and the banking sector. The Government of Sri Lanka cooperated with the United States to implement both the Container Security Initiative and the Megaports programme at the port of Colombo.

The report said fighting between the LTTE and the Sri Lanka government escalated in 2006 and continued through 2007. Political assassinations and bombings were commonplace tactics prior to the cease-fire and have increased again since mid-2005.

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