Sunday, June 17, 2007


Military has been ordered to kill Prabhakaran

The Sri Lankan military has been ordered to kill LTTE Tamil Terrorist leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and finish off the LTTE once and for all, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse has disclosed.

This is perhaps for the first time in over a quarter century that an important Sri Lankan government functionary has openly admitted that the military has actually been ordered to kill the Tiger terrorist leader.

News sources has quoted that Rajapakse that the civil war-ravaged island-nation's military is "under instructions to eliminate Prabhakaran and eradicate his organization once and for all."

In a front page report, printed in the International Herald Tribune (IHT) today, Rajapakse told "That's our main aim, to destroy the leadership of LTTE Tamil terrorists."
The NYT reporter adds grimly: "Pressure from abroad, including suspension of aid from countries like Britain

“Anything is fair when fighting with LTTE Tamil Terrorists”
- Defence Secretary

The Defence Secretary has explained to the international community Tuesday, saying that Sri Lanka was being mistreated by Western states over human rights. “We have to defend ourselves with world ruthless Terrorists group, LTTE Tamil Terrorists. He said that therefore “anything is fair when fighting with LTTE Terrorists”. He further told that Reuters, the BBC, AFP, Al Jazeera etc. and some staffs of United Nations agencies had been infiltrated, misled and bribed by the Tamil Terrorists over the past 30 years.

He dismissed criticism by international human rights groups that Sri Lankan security forces are engaged in human rights abuses, including killings and abductions of civilians by saying that “We have to defend ourselves as what US and British army doing in Iraq and Afghanistan in the name of covert operations. When something is done by us in Sri Lanka, all these groups called it as abductions,” he added. “This is playing with the words.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Nation pays highest tribute to War Heroes

- President
President Mahinda Rajapakse lays a wreath of flowers at the war hero's memorial during the National War Heroes Day ceremony in Kandy
President Mahinda Rajapaksa paid the nation’s highest tribute to the gallant ‘War Heroes’ who sacrificed their lives and limbs in battle to defeat terrorism and protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of their motherland.

Presiding at a colourful ceremony dedicated to commemorate and salute the ‘War Heroes’ at Mailapitiya, Kandy yesterday, President Rajapaksa said that those brave soldiers sacrificed their dear lives and limbs to bring peace to their motherland and enabled one and all, regardless of race and creed, to live in harmony sans fear and suspicion.
“We could be proud of them. Albeit we dedicate this day in remembrance of these dead and disabled soldiers, a day or even a month is by no means sufficient for the nation to fully express their gratitude and sentiments in return for their heroism,” he said.

The President asserted that all those who sacrificed their lives for their Motherland, will never ever die but remain dear and near in our hearts and minds for evermore. The Government will always be bound to provide them and their families, all their requirements.
In fulfilment of these requirements, the Government has already inaugurated special housing schemes, loans at easy and concessionary terms, self-employment projects and entitlement of full pensions after 55 years or after 22 years of service completion.
Setting-up of special schools for the offspring of service personnel, already under way in Colombo, with plans of extending to other regions as well. “We do all this not for any political leverage but to show to them, our heart-felt gratitude from the depth of our hearts” the President reiterated.
“We will always provide them the will and courage to fight terrorism in all its forms, so that the innocent civilians in the North and East would enjoy a better life and live sans fear and suspicion,” he said.

He added that he will never be prepared to betray his country or enter into any fraudulent agreements with anybody, as he believed and loved his motherland dearly.
Ministers, Parliamentarians the three Service Chiefs and the IGP among others, participated at the ceremony in which a large gathering was present, Religious dignitaries of the Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and the Christian faiths invoked their blessings on the ‘War Heroes’. Floral Tributes were also placed at the ‘Commemorative statue’ by the President.

The President further said that today the ‘War Heroes’ were not only fighting a war and sacrificing their lives to combat terrorism, but playing a multi-faceted role of providing humanitarian assistance as well, such as feeding the hungry and quenching the thirst of victims battered by war, midwifery, tending to the sick and wounded, provision of medical assistance and seeking to the welfare needs of the refugees and the Internally Displaced Persons, men, women and children.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007



No self-respecting person, let alone a nation will tolerate insulting language. That is one of the reasons why insulting language is never used among nations. Another is that no nation would want to have any dealings with another that uses such language resulting in the isolation of such a country but when Mr. Narayanan, the Indian National Security Advisor says “We are a big power in the region. We don’t want the Sri Lankan government to go to Pakistan or China for weapons. Whatever may be their requirements they should come to us” his small mind openly displays his arrogance in the belief India is a big power, that India could crush us and our opinion does not matter.

When IPKF landed here Prabhakaran proved to you how big your power is so much so that India had to commandeer all internal domestic flight planes to bring home the dead and the wounded. At that time we had only a ceremonial sword. Thanks to Prabhakaran we now have a battle hardened patriotic army more than capable of handling any Indian invader. Why won’t Mr. Narayanan try another IPKF? If he tries again not only will we give the Indian troops a red carpet treatment but also China and Pakistan together will simultaneously redraw their boundaries with India.

Who are you Mr. Narayanan to tell us from whom to buy our military hardware? As if to add insult to injury you said that you will not supply us offensive weapons. We buy our needs in the open market. We have acquired Mig 29 jets the very latest offensive weapons from Russia and we have the well proven Kfir offensive jets from Israel. I am sure that we already have most of our needs supplied to us by China and Pakistan and we will continue to get them from Pakistan and China because we do not trust India. As far as your radars are concerned we do not want them because they have proved to be inferior to what we can get from elsewhere.

Monday, June 4, 2007


We will continue fight against terrorism

-Army Commander urges patriotic youth to come forward to complete the mission

Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka, who survived an LTTE suicide attack on April 25, 2006 returned to full-time duties on July 25, 2006. Since then, he is busy planning military operations which have put the Sri Lanka Army in a strong position against the LTTE. From his office in the heavily fortified Army Headquarters, he maintains regular contact with the field commanders in the North East.
The two photographs of lions placed behind his seat remind that he is a man from 'Sinha', the regiment he commands. He says that politicians alone cannot be blamed for unnecessarily dragging this conflict.
"The Army too shares the responsibility for not being able to destroy the LTTE," he says in an interview. "For what we achieve we claim the credit and when we fail we blame the politicians, but I don't think this is correct," he says.
The commander also says that the CFA is not functioning now due to fighting between the Government and the LTTE. He is also confident that the Security Forces can defeat the LTTE and bring peace through a political solution. Following are the excerpts of the interview.

Q: The Security Forces have gained full control of the East except for some parts, after defeating the LTTE. What motivated the Army to clear the Eastern Province?

A: We started a humanitarian operation because the LTTE started harassing some villagers in the East by closing the Mavilaru anicut and firing artillery to Sinhala villages.
They fired artillery to the Trincomalee harbour area. So we had no choice, we were compelled to chase the LTTE out of the area and ensure the security of the people. We did that in Mavilaru, Sampur.
The LTTE was keeping their heavy artillery and heavy weapons and started firing. From Vakarai again they started firing at Kallar and Mahindapura area so we had to go and clear the LTTE in those areas.
Then we found that the LTTE was keeping civilians as human shields. They were not getting food and medicine. Then we had to rescue the civilians. So we expanded the Government controlled areas into other areas which were controlled by the LTTE. So the main reasons were the welfare of the people and also the security of the people.

Q: There is a perception that the Security Forces could achieve these victories in the East due to the Karuna faction. Is there any truth behind this?

A: The Karuna faction is doing some anti-LTTE propaganda. But it did not help us to do our military operations. This Karuna faction didn't do any military operations. Our military operations were done with soldiers not with the Karuna people.
We have lost over 100 officers and men in the East. The LTTE may have lost may be ten times more.

Q: Despite Security Forces achievements in the East, people tend not to believe these victories. How do you explain this?

A: The Tigers are now pushed into a small area in Thoppigala. All other populated areas are controlled by the Army. The Government's rule is there. If somebody does not believe it we can take them and show them. You can't see it from Colombo.
Now we are resettling people in Batticaloa West also. I think there are people who are going to take various political advantages and trying to underestimate military victories.

Q: Reports indicate that there is an internal conflict within the Karuna group. How does this situation affect the present security situation in the North East?

A: We also heard that they had some problems. One or two cadres within that organisation were shot by their own cadres.
There is some misunderstanding. Now we hear that they are working under the leadership of Karuna again. That is what we hear.

Q: Now it is an open secret that the Security Forces adopted new strategies and tactics when fighting the LTTE in the East. What made you decide on such strategies?

A: One is humanitarian issues. We did not use conventional tactics because civilians can get caught in the crossfire. The LTTE did their best to get the civilians into this situation. We had to control our fire power and we had to go slow at particular times.
Therefore, we had some additional casualties. But still we opted to see that civilians are not caught in the cross-fire. On the other hand we knew the LTTE had a lot of artillery guns. They managed to collect a lot of money from the A-9 and from the Tamil Diaspora.
They collected a lot of money during the ceasefire and bought arms and ammunition. May be twenty times more than what they had before the ceasefire. Because of that we had to change our tactics. With that additional fire power they could inflict lot of casualties on us. We changed our tactics to avoid casualties.

Q: Are you in a position to give a guarantee that the East is free of LTTE threats and is ready for development?

A: All inhabited areas are liberated. We have given enough security. Places like Vakarai, Batticaloa West there is no LTTE presence. Already there are Government officials visiting these areas and planning development work. Especially in Vakarai and Kathiraveli there is a lot of progress.
Search operations are done to ensure security. When we do that and we give them green light, then people can come and attend to all the work.
Specially Batticaloa West, the Army has already handed over the area to the STF and had settled all 35,000 people Kokkadicholai, Vellaveli and Porathivu areas. People can go and start development work here. We can give hundred percent security.

Q: The Government and the Security Forces maintained that they were engaged in a humanitarian operation. How do you elaborate on this statement?

A: The people were undergoing harassment. On one hand they were trying to chase away Sinhalese and Muslims. On the other hand they were keeping the Tamil civilians as a shield and they were engaged in recruitment. Whatever the relief assistance coming from the NGOs they were taking them.
People were complaining that they were not receiving enough food. Because we tried to save the civilians from this type of situation, we say it was a humanitarian mission. There is a sense of relief and security. Their children are safe now. No body is abducting them, they can go to schools without any fear. So I think we have achieved a lot by these missions.

Q: Security Forces constantly came under severe criticism over human rights violations especially due to the displacement of civilians due to military operations. What is your response?

A: Actually, there may have been one or two incidents during last two years, Some Forces people have not behaved properly or they harassed civilians or did not confine their duties to the legal provisions. We had taken very stern action against them.
Whenever fingers were pointed at us we allowed the Government and the Police to do the inquiries. Various people are trying to capitalise on communal differences criticising the Forces.
But wherever we thought there was evidence, wherever we knew there were suspects, or suspicious of any event, we did the needful. We don't believe in impunity.
We went to maintain very high discipline in the Army and if there is anybody who had behaved like that, committed such offences, we had taken very serious action against them. And that is the policy of the Government. The Government has given us very clear orders that human rights violations will not be tolerated.

Q: What is the next step? Do you think the Security Forces can defeat the LTTE in the North and Wanni like it did in the East?

A: Our policy is derived out of the Government policy and we don't accommodate terrorism. We have a task to eliminate terrorism so we continued on that mission. There are military defences, high security zones in the North which are being threatened by the LTTE. So we have to ensure the security and safety of those establishments so that they do not come under terrorist attacks.
For this purpose we have certain operations in certain areas in the North. But we will continue our fight against terrorism, everywhere in the country.

Q: When you assume duties as the Army Commander you said you will become a challenge to terrorism. Are you still maintaining that position?

A: I don't know whether I used the same words. But, I meant that is our job. Eliminating terrorism is my task. So obviously I take that challenge. But I did not say that I will become a challenge to terrorism. The task given to me, I will take it as a challenge.

Q: After the LTTE's failed attempt to capture Jaffna peninsula there were no major offensives by the LTTE except for the recent attack on Delft Island, to capture Jaffna. Does this mean that the LTTE is now in a weaker position?

A: I know the LTTE would do everything possible to capture Jaffna. Because they know that in the face of all these reverses for them, if they can get a breakthrough in Jaffna they will benefit immensely.
That will be a major victory for them. It will also help them get recruits and control the population. Last time they failed. They lost their defences as well. If they try again, we are prepared. We will even do better than what we did last time. It will be a disaster for them if they try to attack us.

Q: What is your assessment on the LTTE strength? Are they weaker now or are they strong?

A: They are much weaker now. I think they lost 50 per cent of their military power already. Basically they have their guns. Manpower wise they have lost quite a lot.
Starting from the East already they have lost over 2,000 cadres during the last 10 months.
May be another couple of thousands injured. So they are definitely weak. They can't take recruits from the East.
Recruiting will be only from Kilinochchi and Wanni not even in Jaffna. Even in Jaffna, they are very weak now. We have done a lot of operations and a lot of terrorists have been eliminated in Jaffna. They are weak, but still they have little capabilities, to try and strike somewhere. We are ready to face a situation like that.

Q: Do you think that the air capabilities of the LTTE would be a decisive factor in the future battles in the North?

A: They can't create much impact with that. I mean, dropping a few bombs. The damage they create is not unbearable. Anybody, who has a private aircraft can do this. If a civilian has a private aircraft, if he wants to take a risk, he can carry two bombs and drop somewhere. But we are trying our best to contain it and ensure that they will not develop further. I think we are taking enough action to destroy their aircraft now.

Q: Is that also on the part of the Army?

A: Not by the Army. It is a combined operation. The Air Force has been equipped, they are given additional equipment. They have been given equipment to counter future operations, to destroy the aircraft. I think that will take place very soon. But we have to do it now.

If we don't do it now, they will try to develop further. But this is not a problem that developed yesterday. The planes were bought four years back. The runways were constructed, much before that. The Aircraft were bought during the peace talks after 2002. Now we have to take action. The Air Force will do the needful.

Q: Under the present circumstances do you see any possibility to see an end to the North East conflict by defeating the LTTE militarily?

A: We have always said this conflict has two sides. The LTTE military capability is one. The political grievances and the Tamil peoples' grievances are something else. We are confident that we can eliminate the LTTE. The Government is also confident that it can address the political grievances of the Tamil people.

I think the Government is already working on that. So after we achieve good results from both angles, then I think we can see an end to the conflict.

Q: But this conflict is unnecessarily dragging on for more than three decades. Is that due to political interferences or due to any other reason?

A: I don't blame only politicians for this situation. I mean, for not being able to destroy terrorists. The Army also should take the responsibility. What we achieved, we claim the credit, when we fail we blame the politicians.

But I don't think that is right. The Army also made lot of mistakes. We had reverses. We had debacles. Because we had weak people, weak commanders at different places. Of course there had been political interference at various stages. When the High Security Zone issue came up some time ago, there was interference when I was the Jaffna Commander.

There have been such situations, but I stood firm. If the Army has done their part, then we can overcome the problem. If we are sincere, if we are genuine, the politicians can't interfere.

If they tried to interfere they will not get the support. But the Army also has failed. We lost Mullaitivu, Elephant Pass, Mankulam. We can't blame politicians for that because the military did not do the job properly.

Q: What would be the fate of the Ceasefire Agreement under the present context? Do you think the CFA still exists?

A: The Government has said it will respect and uphold the Ceasefire Agreement. We tried our best to live with the Ceasefire Agreement and uphold it. But they started attacking us starting from Mavil Aru, Sampur, Muhamalai, then we couldn't think of the Ceasefire Agreement and get attacked and lose lives and property. We counter attacked.

At the moment the CFA is not functioning, because fighting is going on. There is no ceasefire today there is fighting. The Tigers were killing the informants, political opponents, they killed even the Foreign Minister and they tried to kill me within Army Headquarters. That is not a Ceasefire. If it is a genuine ceasefire, everybody will like it.

In that way the Government might lay down some conditions so that the LTTE can't take advantage like bringing weapons, killing the opponents, consolidating their military defences; they should not do these type of things during ceasefire.

Q: You made some several changes within the Army during the past one and half years. What was the rationale behind these changes?

A: We appointed field commanders who are capable and experienced people and also people with commitment. We didn't appoint as per Army seniority. That was a problem we had in the Army in the past. Promotions and appointments were given according to their seniority not according to their performances. That was the other reason why we had reverses in the past.

The Secretary Defence is also very keen to see, capable outstanding people are given responsibilities. We are working on that. And we don't need to go everywhere and interfere very much. If there is a LTTE attack, ground commanders are capable of facing them, unlike in the past.

We have put capable people, they are working very hard. Some people are not very happy, if they have not performed well in the past that is not our problem. Otherwise in the structure we did not make any changes.

Q: The LTTE exploded two claymore mines in Colombo. How do you see this situation?

A: They were very desperate attempts. You can see they were going for soft targets basically. Otherwise, they are not in Colombo for that purpose. They are in Colombo for very high valued targets they have been trailing all the time.

Although they were saying in the past they will bring war to Colombo, you can see, they can't even think of doing that. It is not a difficult task to explode a bomb like that in a crowded city.

You can see it is happening in Delhi, Islamabad, Turkey. It happens even in London, Paris. It is not difficult to do something like this. You can't check all the people all the time all the vehicles all the time. Somebody who is interested can do something illegal.

Q: What does the LTTE seek to gain through such attacks?

A: One thing may be to create a backlash by attacking Sinhala people, then hoping that they will be provoked and they will try to attack Tamil people. In both areas, in Belek Kade and Mattakkuliya, there are Tamil people living in those areas.

So they will create a backlash. On the other hand, they are trying to tell the international community, they are killing civilians due to Army attacks or SLAF bombing the Tamil civilians. The Air Force is very careful about in engaging targets. They make sure that no civilians are injured.

Q: Is the Army well equipped to face the LTTE?

A: I think we have got all the required weapons. Certain new systems we have got with latest technology. And we are using them very affectively. Even, transport, logistic support, armoured vehicles, additional fire power, everything we have got. Last year we got more than what we want.

Q: Is this the first time you are experiencing such situation?

A: In the past also we have been spending a lot of money. Sometimes we did not buy the correct item and paid too much for the item. Some bombs, we may say we paid US $ 200 in the past, now we are buying for 150.

Now sometimes we are paying less than what we spent five years ago and we are saving lot of money and meeting the requirements. For example for this year we have purchased over 250 vehicles for the Army.

Q: Is the Sri Lanka Army working to expand cooperation with regional and other foreign countries?

A: The Government has been discussing always. We have good relations with India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and even with China. The Government is keen that we strengthen our relationship with people in the region and countries in Asia.

Whatever, the cooperation we are having with US, UK or Europe we are trying to maintain the same relationship. We have not changed the relationship with other countries.

Q: Is the Army fully geared to address humanitarian concerns?

A: The Army is helping the Government with whatever the resources and support we have, to fulfill the humanitarian needs. In the North when the A-9 was closed, people had difficulties and food was not arriving.

Army opened 30 shops to distribute food to the people, giving school books, transporting goods. Everything was done by the Army. The Air Force and the Navy was transporting people to Jaffna. That was why people did not suffer. We also wanted to ensure that people are comfortable and we always tried to ensure that their basic needs were met.

Q: How successfully are you with the recruitment drive?

A: Recruitment has been very successful. Beginning of the year we had 10,000 recruits. Normally in the past we never had 3500 recruits for the year. We are hoping to recruit over 7000 to 8000 by the end of the year, once the newly recruited finished their training. During this year we will have 20,000.

Q: Is that the requirement?

A: Anyway we have lot of vacancies in the Army. We have not been getting recruits in the past, so we are trying to fill all the fighting battalions, and at the headquarters. In addition to new recruits, over 2500 deserters reported to the Army. The deserter rate has gone down now. We earlier had 3000 to 5000 deserters a year.

Q: There were some corrupt officials within the Army, who had leaked information to the LTTE. What action you have taken against them?

A: Already, one has been court-martialled, the other also been charged by the CID. He is with the police. They are two Majors. The police will file cases against them.

Q: What are your feelings today one year after you survived an LTTE suicide attack and recovered from the injuries to serve as the Army Commander again?

A: Actually, I don't even think of that and I don't remember that now as I am deeply engaged in my work. I was in hospital one year ago and I came from hospital on July 25, 2006. On July 26 the Mavil Aru operation started. The operation kept me really busy.

Therefore, I didn't have time to think about the bomb attack. During the past 10 months we have been really busy and we have been planning and conducting operations to destroy the LTTE. I think the bomb attack is now part of history.

Q: What is your message to the youth who are willing to join the Army?

A: We might have to complete our mission. We have to complete that mission within another one or two year's time. For that we need to have the Army in good shape. Personnel of the Army have a lot of commitment. Of course we are fighting a war.

We have casualties and we have people getting killed. That is part of war. We need the strength of the Army. Of course the Army is still strong enough. The younger generation will have to join the Army so that we can finish the task entrusted to us.
We will do better in future provided we have youth joining the Army. So they are welcome to join us.