Lankan asylum ship in Canada belongs to LTTE
Lankan asylum ship in Canada belongs to LTTE: experts
October 25, 2009 10:32 am
The migrant smuggling ship intercepted off the West Coast carrying 76 Sri Lankan men is owned by the outlawed Tamil Tigers and previously smuggled weapons from North Korea to Sri Lanka, says an international expert on South Asia terrorism.
It’s feared the ship may be the first wave of defeated Tamil Tiger fighters fleeing for safe haven after the end of Sri Lanka’s 25-year civil war, says another security expert.
Canada hosts the largest population of Sri Lankan Tamils outside of Sri Lanka, and has long been a key support base for the Tigers, which is on Canada’s official list of terrorist organizations.
In a radio interview with ABC News in Australia on Saturday, Singapore-based Rohan Gunaratna said the Ocean Lady is a rebel freighter belonging to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the separatist guerrillas known as the Tamil Tigers.
“It is now clear that it is a Tamil Tiger-owned and -operated ship,” said Gunaratna, who heads Singapore’s International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research. The Sri Lakan native has authored several books on the country’s civil war that ended in May, with government troops finally defeating the LTTE.
“Certainly, not all ships that are transporting people are managed by terrorists, but in the case of the Ocean Lady, it is a Tamil Tiger ship that had been used in the past to smuggle weapons from North Korea to Sri Lanka,” said Gunaratna.
The LTTE owns many merchant navy vessels. Most of these ships were used for weapons smuggling into Northern Sr Lanka. The Sri Lanka Navy and the Air Force were abvle to destroy some of these ships during the war.
What better use could the remnants of the LTTE terrorists (most of them abroad) get from these ships?