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Cablegate: Sri Lanka: 1995 Annual Terrorism Report

R 301012Z NOV 95
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 5575
INFO AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU
AMEMBASSY DHAKA
AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD
AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI
AMEMBASSY LONDON
AMCONSUL MADRAS
USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 006003


DEPT FOR SA/INS AND S/CT FOR REAP/COLLINS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA: 1995 ANNUAL TERRORISM REPORT

REF: STATE 245276

1. THE FOLLOWING IS POST'S RESPONSE TO REFTEL
REQUESTING INPUT FOR THE DEPARTMENT'S 1995 ANNUAL
TERRORISM REPORT. THE GOVERNMENT OF SRI LANKA (GSL)
CONTINUED TO BATTLE AGAINST THE INSURGENT LIBERATION
TIGERS OF TAMIL EELAM (LTTE), THE ONLY TERRORIST
ORGANIZATION CURRENTLY BELIEVED TO BE ACTIVE IN SRI
LANKA. ALTHOUGH THE LTTE OPERATES LARGELY WITHIN
THE BORDERS OF SRI LANKA, IT IS AN QINTERNATIONALQ
TERRORIST ORGANIZATION AS DEFINED IN REFTEL, BECAUSE
IT HAS ENGAGED IN OPERATIONAL ACTIVITIES IN INDIA
(MOST NOTABLY THE 1991 ASSASSINATION OF INDIAN PRIME
MINISTER RAJIV GANDHI) AS WELL AS IN SRI LANKA. IT
IS ALSO BELIEVED TO LOOK TO FOREIGN SOURCES FOR THE
TRAINING OF AT LEAST SOME OF ITS CADRES AND FOR MUCH
OF THE SUPPLIES IT NEEDS TO SUSTAIN ITS CAMPAIGN
AGAINST GSL -- ESPECIALLY WEAPONS, EXPLOSIVES AND
AMMUNITION. THE FOLLOWING RESPONSES ARE KEYED TO
QUESTIONS A THROUGH H IN PART 3 OF REFTEL.

2. (A) THERE WERE NO GSL PROSECUTIONS OF PEOPLE
INVOLVED IN INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM OR SIGNIFICANT
ACTS OF DOMESTIC TERRORISM. A NUMBER OF SUSPECTED
MEMBERS OF THE LTTE HAVE BEEN ARRESTED AND DETAINED
UNDER THE EMERGENCY REGULATIONS AND THE PREVENTION
OF TERRORISM ACT. WHILE SOME OF THOSE DETAINED HAVE
BEEN CHARGED WITH RELATIVELY MINOR OFFENSES SUCH AS
WITHHOLDING INFORMATION, NO IMPORTANT LTTE LEADER
HAS EVER BEEN APPREHENDED AND PROSECUTED. THERE
HAVE BEEN NO TERRORIST ATTACKS INVOLVING AMERICAN
CITIZENS OR FACILITIES.

(B) THERE WERE NO USG REQUESTS TO SRI LANKA FOR
EXTRADITION OR ASSISTANCE IN TERRORIST CASES. THE
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA IN JUNE 1995 OFFICIALLY
REQUESTED THE EXTRADITION OF LTTE LEADER VELUPILLAI
PRABHAKARQN, LTTE INTELLIGENCE CHIEF POTTU AMMAN AND
LTTE WOMEN'S WING LEADER AKILA (WHO HAS SINCE BEEN
REPORTED TO HAVE DIED IN BATTLE IN NORTHERN SRI
LANKA) FOR THE ASSASSINATION OF RAJIV GANDHI.
(THESE INDIVIDUALS HAVE BEEN DECLARED QPROCLAIMED
OFFENDERSQ BY A MADRQS SPECIAL COURT.) AS OF
NOVEMBER 1995, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL WAS PREPARING
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE DEFENSE MINISTER WHO WILL
DECIDE WHETHER TO AUTHORIZE THE COLOMBO HIGH COURT
TO BEGIN EXTRADITION PROCEEDINGS. HOWEVER, IF THE
GSL DECIDES TO PROCEED WITH THE EXTRADITION
REQUESTS, THE CHANCES OF APPREHENDING THE TWO
REMAINING LTTE LEADERS ARE SLIM AS THEY REMAIN WELL-
PROTECTED IN LTTE-CONTROLLED AREAS IN THE NORTH OF
THE COUNTRY.

(C) WE ARE AWARE OF NO SIGNIFICANT IMPEDIMENTS TO
GSL PROSECUTION AND/OR EXTRADITION OF SUSPECTED
TERRORISTS. TERRORISM IS ILLEGAL UNDER THE
PREVENTION OF TERRORISM ACT. IN ADDITION, SRI
LANKAN EXTRADITION LAW PERMITS EXTRADITION TO OTHER
COMMONWEALTH COUNTRIES. MOREOVER, SRI LANKA IS A
SIGNATORY TO THE SOUTH ASIAN ASSOCIATION FOR
REGIONAL COOPERATION (SAARC) REGIONAL CONVENTION ON
THE SUPPRESSION OF TERRORISM. THEREFORE, THE GSL
SEEMS OBLIGED TO COOPERATE WITH THE OFFICIAL
REQUESTS FROM INDIA FOR THE EXTRADITION OF
PRABHAKARAN AND POTTU AMMAN--THOUGH IT IS LIKELY
THAT ITS OWN PROSECUTION WOULD TAKE PRECEDENCE.

(D) ITSELF A TARGET OF A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION,
THE GSL HAS BEEN STRONGLY SUPPORTIVE OF
INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM OF
TERRORISM. THE GSL HAS COOPERATED FULLY WITH THE
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA IN THEIR INVESTIGATION OF THE
RQJIV GANDHI ASSASSINATION AND HAS BEEN QUICK TO
CONDEMN INTERNATIONAL TERRORIST ACTS.

(E) THE GSL IS CONDUCTING ON-GOING COUNTERTERRORIST
AND COUNTERINSURGENCY OPERATIONS, INCLUDING MILITARY
ACTIONS AND SPECIAL MEASURES TO PROTECT URBAN AREAS,
IMPORTANT INSTALLATIONS AND GOVERNMENT LEADERS.
THESE ARE AIMED AT WEAKENING THE LTTE AND INHIBITING
THEIR ABILITY TO CONDUCT TERRORIST ATTACKS AS WELL
AS MILITARY OPERATIONS.

(F) THE GSL DOES NOT SUPPORT INTERNATIONAL
TERRORISM IN ANY WAY.

(G) THE GSL HAS MADE NO PUBLIC STATEMENTS IN
SUPPORT OF A TERRORIST-SUPPORTING COUNTRY ON A
TERRORISM ISSUE. HOWEVER, THEY HAVE NOT ACTIVELY
SUPPORTED INTERNATIONAL CONDEMNATION OF THE
TERRORIST ACTIVITIES OF LIBYA, IRAQ AND IQQN.

(H) AT THE YEAR'S END, THERE HAD BEEN NO
SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN THE GSL'S ATTITUDE TOWARD
INTERNATIONAL AND DOMESTIC TERRORISM.

3. 1995 BEGAN WITH A CEASE-FIRE ON JANUARY 8
BETWEEN THE LTTE AND THE GSL. ON APRIL 19, 1995,
THE LTTE BROKE THE TRUCE IN AN UNPROVOKED ATTACK
WHEN IT BLEW UP TWO GOVERNMENT NAVAL VESSELS,
KILLING 12 SAILORS. IT ALSO SHOT DOWN TWO AIR FORCE
TRANSPORT PLANES, KILLING ALMOST 100 SERVICEMEN.
SUBSEQUENTLY, THERE HAVE BEEN ATTACKS AND COUNTER-
ATTACKS BY BOTH THE LTTE AND THE GOVERNMENT. THE
LTTE ONCE AGAIN RESUMED ATTACKS ON CIVILIANS IN MAY,
KILLING 42 INNOCENT MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN AN
EASTERN VILLAGE. IN AN APPARENT ATTEMPT TO KILL
DEPUTY DEFENSE MINISTER ANURUDDHA RATWATTE, AN LTTE
SUICIDE BOMBER EXPLODED A BOMB OUTSIDE A LOCAL
GOVERNMENT OFFICE IN COLOMBO IN AUGUST, KILLING 23
BYSTANDERS. IN OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER, THE LTTE
CONTINUED TO ATTACK CIVILIANS IN THE EAST, KILLING
OVER 100 MOSTLY SINHALESE VILLAGERS LIVING IN BORDER
AREAS. IT ALSO ASSASSINATED TAMIL POLITICAL RIVALS
IN THE NORTHERN AND EASTERN PARTS OF THE COUNTRY,
INCLUDING THE DEPUTY MAYOR OF BATTICALOA TOWN.
MOREOVER, THE LTTE ATTACKED VITAL GOVERNMENT
INSTALLATIONS. IN OCTOBER IT RAIDED TWO OIL STORAGE
FACILITIES IN COLOMBO, DESTROYING 14 TANKS AND
KILLING 21 GUARDS AND CIVILIANS. IT ALSO ATTACKED
OIL STORAGE TANKS IN BATTICALOA TOWN IN THE EAST.
AN UNSUCCESSFUL ATTEMPT TO BOMB ARMY HEADQUARTERS IN
COLOMBO IN NOVEMBER RESULTED IN THE DEATHS OF 16
PEOPLE, MOSTLY CIVILIANS.

4. IN 1995 THE ELLALAN FORCE - WIDELY SUSPECTED,
THOUGH NOT CONFIRMED, TO BE A FRONT FOR THE LTTE -
CLAIMED RESPONSIBILITY FOR A BOMB PLACED AT
KATUNAYAKE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT WHICH EXPLODED BUT
DID CAUSE ANY CASUALTIES OR DAMAGE. THE ELLALAN
FORCE ALSO SENT SEVERAL LETTERS TO NEWS AGENCIES AND
FOREIGN MISSIONS WARNING TOURISTS AND FOREIGN
INVESTORS TO STAY AWAY FROM SRI LANKA OR FACE SEVERE
CONSEQUENCES. HOWEVER, THROUGH NOVEMBER, NO ACTION
OF THE ELLALAN FORCE HAS KNOWN TO HAVE CAUSED INJURY
TO PERSONS OR DAMAGE TO PROPERTY.

BOARDMAN

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