Tigers still getting arms from Cambodia
PHNOM PENH: Tamil Tiger rebels are still getting weapons smuggled from Cambodia, which are fuelling spiralling unrest in Sri Lanka, a security journal reported.
“Cambodia is one of the most significant single sources of weapons for the insurgent group,” Jane’s Intelligence Review said in a report published online last week, without naming any sources. Interior ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak acknowledged Monday that some weapons might still be getting to the Tigers, but said any smuggling would be small-scale.
“There could be some bad people involved.... We would like information to lead us to the offenders,” he told AFP. “We are victims of weapons, so we don’t want people in other countries to suffer the same crisis,” he said. Weapons from Cambodia had filled Tiger arsenals in the past, but officials here had assured the Sri Lankan government that the arms trade has stopped.
Cambodia remains awash in arms after decades of civil war. But the government has made efforts to reduce its caches, destroying about 230,000 weapons so far.Still, porous borders and poor policing have made Cambodia an attractive base for traffickers of various kinds of contraband.
Five Tigers killed: Five Tamil Tiger fighters were killed in a clash with army troops in the island’s restive northwest overnight, the rebels said on Monday, claiming to have inflicted heavy casualties on the military. The incident in the northwestern district of Mannar came hours after Sri Lankan police found and defused a powerful bomb at a fair just 3 miles from a rally attended by President Mahinda Rajapaksa near the capital Colombo.
It also comes after a rash of land and sea clashes, ambushes and air raids that have killed an estimated 4,500 people since last year alone. “The two-pronged attempt of the SLAF (Sri Lankan armed forces) ... was thwarted by the LTTE frontliners. The SLAF formation fell back with heavy casualties and material loss,” rebel military spokesman Rasiah Ilanthiraiyan said in a statement. The military said it retaliated to a rebel mortar bomb attack and said it had no immediate details of any casualties.
In a separate incident a gunman shot dead a Sri Lankan staff member of the Danish Refugee Council in the island’s army-held far northern Jaffna peninsula, the aid group said on Monday, the latest in a series of killings of humanitarian staff. “One of our national staff in Jaffna was murdered this morning,” said Charles Macfadden, head of the group’s Sri Lanka mission.
“We know nothing. He was on his way to work, we understand he dropped (off) his wife, stopped and had a chat with someone and someone came behind him,” he added. “We have no information as to why or wherefore.” agencies