Home » News

Emergence of a new Tamil militant group was inevitable, a new insurgency is not

[Times Online UK, Monday, 7 December 2009 09:16 No Comment]

For some months after their May obliteration along the lagoons and shoreline of northeastern Sri Lanka, supporters of the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) hoped for a sudden, miraculous regeneration of the organisation.

Although the Tamil Tigers’ leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, was slain, LTTE funding lines, weapons smuggling routes and bank accounts remained up and running.

There were reports that two key LTTE leaders were still at large. The body of Pottu Amman, the Tigers’ intelligence chief, was never found. More importantly, Kumaran Pathmanathan, or “KP”, was still at liberty.

KP became the leader of the LTTE after Prabhakaran’s death and was renowned for his skills in running a global arms-running and money-laundering network.

This autumn, however, the final fortunes of the LTTE began to fade. In August KP was arrested by agents in Malaysia and subjected to extraordinary rendition. He now languishes in jail in Colombo. He has given authorities details of at least 600 bank accounts for LTTE funds, as well as information about 14 LTTE-owned ships.

In September, Sri Lankan judicial figures declared Pottu Amman dead. Interrogations of surviving LTTE fighters suggested that he had died on the morning of May 18 as he tried to flee the battlefield in a boat.

It was inevitable, given the vacuum that followed the Tigers’ final denouement, that another Tamil militant group would step forward to fill the gap. While few Tamil civilians held much affection for the murderous politics of the LTTE, they also regarded the organisation as the only real defender of Tamil rights.

The winner of January’s presidential election must tread carefully in his dealings with the country’s Tamil minority.

It would be wise to reach out to the Tamils with aid for the thousands returning to wrecked homes, to bring to trial or release more than 11,000 Tamils still being held as alleged members of the LTTE, and to implement constitutional reforms to redress the Tamils’ grievances.

[Full Coverage]

(For updates you can share with your friends, follow TNN on Facebook, Twitter and Google+)

Comments are closed.