Overseas members of Sri Lanka’s terrorist group LTTE continued to procure weapons in 2010- US report

Aug 19, Colombo: The overseas members of Sri Lanka’s terrorist organization, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued to procure weapons while the LTTE diaspora continued to support the organization financially, a report released by the United States Department of State on Thursday (18) said.

In the ‘Country Reports on Terrorism 2010’ an annual congressionally mandated report released by the State Department says While there were no terrorist incidents within Sri Lanka in 2010, there were continuing concerns that the LTTE’s international network of financial support might still be functioning.

The report, which provides an assessment of trends and events in international terrorism revealed within the last year, continues to list the LTTE as a U.S. government designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.

It says that despite its military defeat in Sri Lanka at the hands of government forces in May 2009, the LTTE’s international network of financial support persists.

The report reveals that the LTTE network continued to collect contributions from the Tamil diaspora in North America, Europe, and Australia and locally-based LTTE sympathizers reportedly have coerced some of these contributions. Further the outfit has also used Tamil charitable organizations as fronts for its fundraising to procure weapons, communications, funding, and other needed supplies.

Following Sri Lanka’s victory over the LTTE, the report says some of the LTTE members have fled the country and have since attempted to reorganize in India.

According to the report, a failed attack against a railway in Tamil Nadu has been carried out by suspected LTTE members. Separately, in March the German police have arrested six Tamil migrants living in Germany for using blackmail and extortion to raise funds for the LTTE.

The Sri Lankan government, responding to the threat from overseas LTTE organization, has launched legislative efforts focused on limiting financial support for the remnants of LTTE.

The Sri Lankan government has made a large allocation to the defense budget in 2010 to monitor Tamil diaspora activity in coordination with foreign governments while the United States has provided training for relevant Sri Lankan government agencies and the banking sector to curtail the provision of funds to the LTTE network.

According to the terrorism report, Sri Lanka has provided a high-level written commitment to work with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an organization that combats international money laundering and terrorist financing, to implement corrective measures to adequately criminalize money laundering and terrorist financing and to establish and implement adequate procedures to identify and freeze terrorist assets.

The government was also drafting amendments to the 2005-2006 laws on money laundering and terrorist financing, in accordance with FATF recommendations at the end of 2010.

The Sri Lankan government has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding in October 2010 with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Bangladesh to share financial information to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of persons suspected of money laundering and terrorist financing.

Sri Lanka has already signed MOUs with the Philippines, Nepal, Cambodia, Malaysia, Afghanistan, South Korea, and Indonesia, according to the State Department Country Terrorism report.

The Sri Lankan government meanwhile is taking steps to prevent reemergence of terrorism and counter radicalization and violent extremism.

“In order to address lingering resentment in areas that were formerly held by LTTE combatants, the Sri Lankan government was working to restore civil administration, resettle Internally Displaced Persons, provide immediate infrastructure development, encourage private sector participation, and promote the development of industries,” the report said.

Access the full report here.

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