LTTE — a ruthless militant organisation Press Trust of India Sunday, April 05, 2009, (Colombo)

6 04 2009

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which lost its last bastion of Pudukudiriyirippu to Sri Lankan forces on Sunday, gave a new dimension to militancy in the world by using suicide bombers and other guerilla attacks to maintain their struggle for a separate Tamil Eelam.

LTTE, led by Velupillai Prabhakaran — a school dropout from the secret jungles of Wanni in northern Sri Lanka for the past 30 years, has been accused of killing many Sri Lankan Sinhalese and Tamil leaders and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Starting as a liberation movement in the late 1970s to attain freedom for “oppressed” Tamils from the clutches of Sri Lankans, the LTTE later evolved as a ruthless organisation for whom violence became a legitimate tool to eliminate political opponents.

In its struggle for a separate Tamil homeland, 54-year-old Prabhakaran introduced suicide bombers, mostly young women, and targeted major government installations, including military headquarters and the lone international airport in Sri Lanka.

Prabhakaran founded the LTTE in the late 1970s and was first named as an accused in the murder of the mayor of Jaffna, the administrative headquarters of the Tamil Tigers’.

During the 1980s and early 90s, the organisation was also accused of committing terror acts in Tamil Nadu where it liquidated its militant rivals.

The LTTE is the only terrorist outfit in the world to have three armed forces wings — Tigers (ground), Sea Tigers (Navy) and Air Tigers — (Air Force).

Black Tigers, the suicide wing of LTTE, came into prominence when the Tigers’ launched their first suicide attack against a Sri Lankan Army camp killing 40 soldiers.

The LTTE became the first organisation in the world to employ women as soldiers in the battlefield.

Tamil Tigers and Prabhakaran, who were given refuge in Tamil Nadu under the then Central governments’ policy, lost sympathy in India after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi during campaigning in the state for the 1991 Lok Sabha polls.

It is alleged that Prabhakaran wanted to avenge the Indian prime minister’s decision in 1987 to deploy Indian peacekeeping force troops in Sri Lanka.

The Tamil Tigers are also blamed for the murder of the then Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa and a number of audacious attacks on the Sri Lankan Army installations.

The outfit has also earned the ire of human rights groups who allege that the LTTE recruits young children to fight against the Army.

LTTE, which is believed to be funded by Tamils living in Europe and other countries across the world, agreed for a ceasefire with Sri Lanka in 2002. But both sides continued to violate the Norway-brokered agreement which until it was formally abrogated by the Mahinda Rajapakse government.

Prabhakaran and the LTTE received a major blow when his confidant Colonel Karuna parted ways and formed his own outfit. However, he later converted as an opponent of the Tamil movement and is now serving as an MP.

Though his followers consider him as a freedom fighter struggling for Tamil emancipation from Sinhala oppression, various nations, including India, have banned his organisation and branded him as a terrorist.

The loss of Pudukudiriyirippu has confined the Tiger rebels to a 20 square km area marked as a ‘no-fire’ zone in northeastern Sri Lanka.

In January this year, the LTTE lost their de-facto capital of Kilinochchi in one of the biggest blows in 25 years of running battles, before being thrown out of another major stronghold Mullaittivu.

Human bombs versus conventional offensives

19 10 2008

Source: India Today

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The LTTE were not the originators of the cult of suicide terrorism. That dubious distinction goes to the Hezbollah, whose 1983 bombing of the Marine Corps barracks in Beirut killed 241 US servicemen.

The LTTE copycatted the Hezbollah when Vallipuram Vasanthan aka ‘Captain Miller’ drove a truckload of explosives into a Sri Lankan army camp killing 39 soldiers. Over the years, they honed suicide terrorism into a lethal art, striking at heavily guarded targets –VIPs or groups of security personnel. They assassinated former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 and President Premadasa two years later. Suicide bombers strike at heavily guarded or fortified targets, individuals or installations, which are hard to reach by conventional means.

But, of late, the LTTE, which has resumed its suicide bombing campaign since its five year ceasefire with the Sri Lankan government collapsed two years ago, has been completely overshadowed by the attacks carried out in Pakistan against the Pakistan military and police and VIP targets like Benazir Bhutto, but with scant regard for civilian collateral.

Pakistan is now emerging as the suicide bombing capital of the world. In the first eight months of the year, says the Institute of Conflict Management, 28 suicide bombings within Pakistan have killed more than 471 people. By comparison, Iraq saw 42 such attacks and 463 deaths; Afghanistan witnessed 36 incidents and 436 casualties.

These attacks don’t include last week’s suicide assault on Pakistan’s anti-terrorist headquarters that wounded six, or the truck bombing of the Marriott hotel in Islamabad which killed over 55 people, including the Czech envoy.

In sharp contrast, the notorious Black Tigers and their marine counterparts, the Black Sea Tigers have struck 29 times on land, sea and under the water – a suicide diver attacked and sank a Lankan naval vessel inside Trincomalee harbour in May last year killing over 300 persons.

Yet, mindless as they may seem, these attacks separated by thousands of kilometres have a common underlying message. Both the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the LTTE are under siege. The Pakistani Taliban is reeling from multiple assaults from government ground forces, helicopter gunships and artillery in the North-West Frontier Province. The Sri Lankan army is advancing within sight of the Tiger capital of Kilinochchi. Both these guerrilla armies have begun using bombings as a cost effective way of launching the fight into the government’s rear and thereby force a stalemate. Regrettably, they don’t seem to be short of either recruits or material to carry them out.