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8 LTTE ships still at large – Govt

[DailyMirror, Friday, 7 January 2011 10:00 No Comment]

The government yesterday told Parliament that the LTTE was still in possession of eight ships that were being used for various illegal activities such as human smuggling.

Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardane placed this information before the House in response to a question by UNP MP Gamini Jayawickrama Perera.    The answer had been provided by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

Mr. Gunawardane said though the LTTE was destroyed in May, 2009, its international network was still intact. According to the intelligence reports, he said, the  ship ‘Eeshwary’ used for the smuggling of Sri Lankan immigrants to Canada recently is one of them.

Citing intelligence reports, the government said that some LTTE ships which are beyond repair for economical use were berthed at a port of a South-east country.

“The LTTE had not registered any purchased ship under its name. They had been fraudulently registered under different international organizations. Legality has been obtained under the flags of those countries,” he said.

The Sri Lanka Navy, with the assistance of the Air Force has destroyed 11 of those ships. Besides, the Ministry of Defence still carries out investigations to curb the LTTE activities overseas through the co-ordination of intelligence services. Mr. Gunawardane said a number of LTTE operatives had been arrested in those countries as a result of these initiatives by the Ministry.

According to the answer, the government has encountered problems in taking legal and diplomatic  action due to the manner in which some ships had been  registered.

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