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A commendable move

The jailing in the US of several persons for trying to buy missiles and guns for Sri Lankan terrorists sends a strong warning to the LTTE and for that matter, all other terrorist groups that many countries are increasingly hunting down the perpetrators of terror.

The US was one of the first countries other than India to ban the LTTE, in 1997. Since then, the LTTE has remained in that list. However, instead of limiting it to paper, the US authorities have tracked down and taken action against LTTE operatives on their soil. The latest action once again proves that the US is dealing firmly with the LTTE.

This is one of the ways in which the international community can help Sri lanka to contain the scourge of terrorism. By identifying arms dealers, intelligence operatives and activists of terrorist groups, they can prevent the export of arms to terror groups at the origin itself.

After all, terrorist organisations continue to seek a sophisticated range of military-grade weaponry and equipment from transnational dealers used in furtherance of violent campaigns.

Intelligence sharing about terrorists’ plans and movements is another very important aspect. Governments have to be one step ahead of terrorists to crush terrorism. No country can be isolated from the adverse effects of terrorism and it is also well known that terror groups work with, and learn from, each other. Thus collective global action should be the order of the day.

The other most important factor is stopping fund raising activities by terror groups. The LTTE is one of the most ingenious groups when it comes to fundraising as it has numerous front organisations posing as cultural or welfare outfits.

These openly raise funds even in countries where the LTTE itself is banned. But many countries are cracking down on these organisations, a good example being the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation.

The global community must expedite the full implementation of the Conventions on Terrorist Financing to stem the flow of funds to terror groups worldwide. That is one of the most effective ways of strangling terrorist organisations bent on causing death and destruction.

Securing power plants

According to news reports, a systematic programme to enhance the security of hydro areas, electricity transformers and distributions and transmission stations and lines will be implemented by the Power and Energy Ministry in consultation with the Defence Ministry.

This follows a meeting chaired by Power and Energy Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne and attended by Power Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage at the Colombo Kelanitissa Power Station in the aftermath of the LTTE air raid which caused minor damage to the power station.

This is the not the first time the LTTE has tried to attack the Kelanitissa power station. Several LTTE operatives have been arrested near power stations for gathering details about the locations and facilities.

It is therefore extremely important that the authorities take all possible measures to protect power stations all over the country. There have been numerous attacks on transformers and the collective loss runs into millions of rupees. Although it is impossible to guard each and every transformer in the country, the major installations must be protected at all times.

Public cooperation is vital in this regard. Under the new security scheme the public would be requested to be vigilant about electricity stations and distribution lines and inform the Security Forces and Police about suspicious persons hovering around them.

A public security co-ordination programme is to be implemented through electricity consumer unions for the protection of outstation electricity transformers and networks within the next few days. These are welcome steps as Security Forces and Police cannot be expected to guard every facility.

The terrorists aim to create economic damage and a fear psychosis. Even a minor shortfall in the power generation capacity has a considerable effect as there is a soaring demand for electricity islandwide. Besides, repairs take time and are very costly.

Thus adequate security must be provided to all existing power stations and even the ones under construction such as Upper Kotmale. Special security arrangements will have to be made for privately-held power plants which are connected to the national grid. In this context, a new security programme would fulfil a long felt need.

Whitewashing my enemy’s enemy

Whitewashing the LTTE has turned a full circle and it is the turn of the UNP to do so. Throughout history, Sri Lankan politicians in the South strove to whitewash the LTTE from all of its ignominious crimes. The LTTE has so far been able to ride the wave of popularity among the foreign Governments, not only due to the propaganda carried out by the Tigers, but also due to the propaganda carried out by the members of the opposition

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When Fleeing Tigers fly again

The LTTE is reported to have abandoned the strategically located Jeyapuram, 6 km north-east of Nachchikuda after Security Forces targeted LTTE fortifications in an area of about 4 sq. km. The Armed Forces have fought their way towards the main Sea Tiger base of Nachchikuda on the north-western coast, having overrun its defences.

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