Cablegate: Violence in Sri Lanka's East: Sunset for the Cease
UNCLAS COLOMBO 001539
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PTER PINS CE LTTE
SUBJECT: VIOLENCE IN SRI LANKA'S EAST: SUNSET FOR THE CEASE
REF: A. COLOMBO 1537
B. COLOMBO 1417
1. (SBU) Immediately following Foreign Minister Kadirgamar's
assassination (Reftel B), there were few reports of
Cease-Fire Agreement (CFA) violations. However, in recent
days, there have been a number of such violations in the
East. The non-governmental Foundation for Co-Existence (FCE)
has reported the following incidents:
-- On August 30, 1 LTTE cadre died and 1 LTTE cadre and 1
civilian were injured in an attack by unidentified gunmen.
-- On August 31 in Batticaloa, a hand grenade exploded on a
major road, and immediately afterward, police opened fire.
-- Also on August 31 in another part of Batticaloa, in a
second such incident, anti-LTTE Eelam People's Democratic
Party (EPDP) and GSL security forces fired rounds towards a
place where a grenade had exploded on a major road. No
casualties or property damages were reported. (Note: Under
the terms of the CFA, the paramilitary EPDP was supposed to
have disarmed. This incident, as well as reports from
Embassy sources, indicate that the EPDP continues to harbor
weapons. End note.)
2. (SBU) In addition, the Sri Lankan Army's (SLA's) website
featured reports of the following incidents:
-- On August 30 in Batticaloa, five LTTE cadres arrived in
two three-wheelers to assault a former LTTE cadre who was
trying to leave the area with over $5000 in Sri Lankan
Rupees. SLA soldiers witnessed the assault and arrested the
attacking cadres, the victim, and the three-wheeler drivers.
-- Also on August 30 in Batticaloa, two LTTE cadres on
motorbikes lobbed a grenade at army troops, but the grenade
failed to explode.
-- On August 31, two hand grenade attacks against SLA troops
in the Eastern province of Valaichenai resulted in injuries
to four soldiers and a police officer. The second of those
attacks occurred outside a hospital, where SLA soldiers had
gone to visit their colleagues injured in the first attack.
-- Also on August 31 in the same region, the LTTE attacked a
police car with grenades and guns, and a police officer was
injured and his vehicle damaged.
-- On August 31, two soldiers in the East were injured when
LTTE cadres attacked them with small arms, petrol bombs, and
The website also noted that the SLA has reported all of these
incidents to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission.
3. (SBU) Comment: Embassy contacts in Batticaloa tell us
that in typical fashion, each side (SLA, LTTE, EPDP,
anti-LTTE Karuna Group) is laying blame for the incidents at
someone else's doorstep. Investigations have not been
fruitful, and as ever in Batticaloa, the truth remains murky.
The brief lull in hostilities immediately following Foreign
Minister Kadirgamar's August 12 assassination appears to have
ended. Both the LTTE and its coterie of rivals (which some
allege enjoy SLA backing) are back to business as usual.
Most disturbing is the fact that the LTTE's attacks occurred
in the context of its refusal to meet the GSL's request to
discuss strengthening the CFA (Reftel A). End comment.