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Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 2, No. 41, April 26, 2004

Data and assessments from SAIR can be freely published in any form with credit to the South Asia Intelligence Review of the
South Asia Terrorism Portal



A Mutiny Disintegrates
Guest Writer: G. H. Peiris
Professor Emeritus, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

In the context of the heady display of power and self-confidence by Vinayanamoorthi Muralitharan alias 'Colonel Karuna', the rebellious military wing leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the Eastern Province districts of Batticaloa and Ampara, throughout the month of March, what appears amazing is not so much his failure to sustain his challenge to Prabhakaran's hegemony over the LTTE, but the speed at which he succumbed to the military onslaught launched by the Vanni high-command.

By the first week of April 2004 there were signs of an impending offensive against Karuna from the Vanni in the form of an LTTE troops build-up along the northern border of Batticaloa District, and intensified 'Sea Tiger' operations off the east coast. In addition, there were reports of infiltration of Batticaloa by LTTE killer squads, and the assassination of several prominent civilian supporters of Karuna's revolt. The offensive, when it commenced in the early hours of 9 April, came over both land and sea, and included an infiltration of small groups of LTTE cadres - the so-called 'pistol gangs' - into the Government-controlled areas of Batticaloa-Ampara for the purpose of curbing any civilian support for the rebel group. In the face of this multi-faceted offensive, by 15 April, the meagre resistance from the rebel group appeared to have been crushed and Prabhakaran's authority had been fully re-established over the LTTE-controlled areas of the east. Snippets of information from this area indicate that well over 50% of rebel fighters (which, according to Karuna himself, initially numbered well over 5,000) had realigned themselves with Prabhakaran and that, of the others, the large majority had, following their erstwhile leader's instructions, abandoned their arms and returned to their homes or gone into hiding. Several hundreds who had served at the higher echelons of Karuna's forces are reported to have fled to Government-controlled areas, many of them ending up in Colombo. Prior to his departure Karuna is also said to have destroyed large stockpiles of arms and ammunition and several military installations that were under his command. He was reported to have fled abroad - to India, according to some, and to Malaysia, according to others. Later reports claimed that he had entered Colombo and is in hiding in a predominantly Tamil residential locality in the southern part of the city.

The possible consequences of the Karuna revolt can be examined under three distinct but interrelated aspects - its impact on (i) the electoral politics of Sri Lanka in the context of the parliamentary elections and the related responses and reactions of the main political forces of the country, (ii) the durability of the on-going ceasefire and the prospects for a resumption of peace negotiations between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE, and (c) the strength of the LTTE.

For the Colombo Government, information on the outbreak of the revolt posed the dilemma that anything it did or failed to do could go wrong with regard both to preserving the ceasefire agreement with the LTTE, as well as the electoral prospects of the two segments of the Government in fierce competition with each other in their respective campaigns leading to the parliamentary elections of April 2, 2004. For instance, while recognition of Karuna as de facto rebel leader of Batticaloa-Ampara or even granting one of his lesser requests would constitute a breach of terms of the ceasefire and was likely to evoke Prabhakaran's wrath, non-recognition of Karuna or a refusal of a request from him could well result in violent retaliation by his loyalists in the Eastern Province and/or the charge from the Sinhalese ethno-nationalists of the craven subservience of the government in its dealings with Prabhakaran. Similarly, any step taken either by President Kumaratunga (leader of the United People's Freedom Alliance, UPFA), or by her political rival, then Prime Minister Wickremasinghe (leader of the United National Front, UNF) in relation to the changed scenario in the 'north-east' of the country could have had a decisive impact upon the extent of support they could mobilise from the Tamil community at the polls and, thus, the final outcome of the elections.

Over the past few months, probably in anticipation of a national poll, the LTTE high-command had engineered the formation of an 'Alliance' consisting of almost all Tamil political parties in mainstream politics under the banner of Illankai Thamil Arasi Kachchi (ITAK, also known as the Tamil National Alliance, TNA). At the nomination of contestants, it was the LTTE head-office that selected the ITAK candidates for the electoral districts of the Northern and Eastern provinces. The objective of these manoeuvres was that, if the LTTE could ensure the victory of its handpicked candidates, it would have at least about 20 members in the new Parliament to serve as its puppets. In view of the fact that, under the prevailing system of 'proportional representation', neither the UPFA nor the UNF could obtain anything more than a slender majority in the 225-member Parliament, the LTTE leadership, with about 22 members at its beck and call, could then have a significant say over the affairs of the country's legislature. Though this strategy of the LTTE received a setback when Karuna ordered the ITAK contestants in the Eastern Province to sever their links with the Vanni leadership, the volatile conditions created by the revolt had the effect of placing the entire electoral process of the northern province almost entirely under the control of the LTTE high-command, making it possible for it to rig the poll with recourse to violence, and for the ITAK to make a clean sweep in the north. Karuna's impact on the elections in the Eastern Province, as it turned out, was ephemeral and, in any event, ITAK contestants elected from the east also came under the control of Prabhakaran after Karuna's collapse.

Soon after the polls, Prabhakaran summoned to his headquarters all ITAK members elected to the new Parliament to dictate to them the courses of action they should follow, and, more specifically, order them to take up with the new Government, as a matter of priority, the implementation of the LTTE blueprint for an interim administration for the 'north-east' This, referred 'proposals for Interim Self-Governing Authority for the North-East' (ISGA), if implemented, would grant autocratic power to the LTTE leadership over the two provinces and, as many critics have pointed out, pave the way for total secession. Thus, the overall impact of the Karuna revolt on parliamentary politics of Sri Lanka is that it has contributed to an enhancement of the direct influence of the LTTE on the affairs of the national legislature, virtually eliminating 'moderate' Tamil viewpoints from the political mainstreams, and making the 'politics of consensus' more elusive than ever before.

The parliamentary configurations that have emerged from the elections of 2 April - the formation of a UPFA Government, which, however, does not command an absolute majority in the Legislature - have a vital bearing on the prospects for peace and stability in Sri Lanka. A resumption of Government-LTTE negotiations would now need to overcome three formidable obstacles: the UPFA's rejection of the ISGA soon after its formal submission by the LTTE in September 2003; the refusal of the UPFA to accept the LTTE as the sole representative of the Tamils of Sri Lanka; and its electoral pledge to oppose the notion of a traditional Tamil homeland consisting of the entire Northern and Eastern provinces.

Those of the former UNF Government who figured at the forefront of negotiations with the LTTE (the then Prime Minister Wickremasinghe and his close associates, ex-ministers G.L. Peiris and Milinda Moragoda) repeatedly expressed their belief that, at the negotiation session held at Oslo in December 2002, the LTTE delegates, led by Anton Balasingham, accepted the idea that a federal system ensuring internal self-government to the 'north-east' of Sri Lanka will satisfy the LTTE demands and will induce the LTTE to abandon its secessionist struggle, and thus pave the way for permanent peace. Indeed, their entire negotiation strategy rested on the notion that Prabhakaran himself had endorsed the acceptance of the 'federal option'. In this context, Karuna's disclosures regarding the views of the LTTE leader on what transpired at Oslo assumes crucial significance and, in fact, corresponds closely to a clarifications furnished by Anton Balasingham, the principal spokesmen for the LTTE outside Sri Lanka, on his leader's stance, according to which the form of self-determination being pursued includes the right to secede and form an independent state (extracted from a widely reported statement by Balasingham at a press interview in Oslo on December 5, 2003). The fact that Karuna's disclosures have not been refuted by the LTTE leadership has thus afforded an opportunity for future Government negotiators to abandon the prevailing illusion on the LTTE standpoint, and to redefine their own negotiation stances in the light of the continuing adherence of the LTTE leader to the goal of secession.

Karuna's revolt could be seen as having had a mixed impact on the LTTE. It has exposed certain fallacies in the basic beliefs which Tiger propagandists have been publicising the world over throughout the past few decades: first, that there is a single, indivisible homeland exclusive to Sri Lanka Tamils extending over the entire area covered by the Northern and Eastern provinces; and second, that the LTTE has a right to act as the sole political spokesman and representative of the Tamils of Sri Lanka. The revolt, while highlighting the weaknesses of the 'homeland' claim (which has, in fact, been thoroughly exposed in existing works of research), has also demonstrated the superficiality of the assertion that the LTTE leadership in Vanni has a power monopoly over the entire Tamil community of Sri Lanka.

Yet another negative impact of the revolt on the LTTE is the loss of trained fighters, weaponry and military installations that accompanied Karuna's departure from his command area. According to journalist Iqbal Athas, the large caches of arms and ammunition destroyed on Karuna's orders during his retreat included mortar launchers and heavy artillery procured by the LTTE after the declaration of the December 2001 ceasefire. Likewise, according to press estimates, the number of deserters from the LTTE ranks following the collapse of the revolt could be as high as 2,000. Athas also notes that there is, in addition, the resonance of the revolt on the Tamil diaspora, observed among the Tamil communities especially in France, Switzerland and Canada, which could result in an erosion of external support for the LTTE.

Substantial gains have, however, also accrued to the LTTE as a result of the collapse of the revolt. There has, for instance, been a definite enhancement of Prabhakaran's image as an invincible leader. Many journalists, including those opposed to the Tigers, have been ecstatic in their outpourings on the alleged brilliance of Prabhakaran as military strategist in conducting his offensive against Karuna, ignoring the pathetic mismatch of overall strength represented by the revolt. At a more tangible plane, the revolt has enabled Prabharakan to strengthen his grip on the Tamil segment of Sri Lanka's population, and to control its politics more firmly than ever before by converting its political leaders, barring a very few exceptions, into a group of lackeys that has no voice or will of its own. Even more importantly, the revolt has increased Prabhakaran'a capacity for brinkmanship in his dealings with the Government of Sri Lanka. He is now aware that he could, with impunity, continue to commit serious violations of the terms of the ceasefire, with hardly any response from Colombo except token complaints lodged with the Norwegian-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission charged with implementing the ceasefire. It has become increasingly evident that the Sri Lanka Government has abandoned its duty of protecting all citizens of the country, not only by denying the security sought by the rebels from the east in supposedly Government-controlled areas, but also by ignoring the LTTE killer squads that roam the streets of Colombo in search of Karuna loyalists hiding in the city. Emboldened by the Government's inability or unwillingness to exercise its authority even in Colombo, the LTTE has, over the past few days, been attempting to extend its control over several strategically important localities in the Jaffna peninsula and in the Eastern Province. This could be the prelude to an LTTE attempt to re-take Jaffna. Prabhakaran has also announced to the new Government that the establishment of an interim administration over the 'north-east', presumably one modelled on his ISGA proposals, would be an essential precondition for the resumption of peace negotiations.



Tripura: Rebels on Peace Mode?
Wasbir Hussain
Associate Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management, New Delhi; Consulting Editor, The Sentinel, Guwahati

Tripura's Marxist strongman and Chief Minister, Manik Sarkar, appears relaxed of late. On April 24 and 25, 2004, he was campaigning for his Communist comrades contesting for the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) in distant Tamil Nadu and Kerala. That has been possible because separatist rebels at home in Tripura are on a peace mode, enabling this Frontier State, which shares an 856 kilometre porous border with Bangladesh, to have a violence-free parliamentary election on April 22, 2004.

On April 15, 2004, three months after they first established contact with State Government authorities, leaders of two factions of the dreaded National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) had a face-to-face meeting with Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani in New Delhi and agreed to put a halt to their armed campaign and enter into peace negotiations. The factions that are party to this decision are those led by Nayanbashi Jamatiya (NLFT-N) and another small group within the Biswamohan Debbarma faction (NLFT-B), led by Montu Koloi. Biswamohan, himself, is still not ready to abandon violence and join the peace process.

The groups had talks with Advani for about 30 minutes each. The NLFT (Nayanbashi) was represented by its President, Nayanbashi Jamatiya, Ananta Debbarma, Amulya Debbarma and the Interlocutor, Nilen Jamatia. The NLFT (B) was represented by Mantu Koloi, D. Debbarma, Bishnu Prasad Jamatia and Sanjiv Debbarma.

"The Central Government, the NLFT (Nayanbashi) and the State Government of Tripura have agreed to observe mutual Suspension of Operations with immediate effect for a period of six months. It was also agreed that peace talks between all the concerned parties will follow the suspension of operations," a statement issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi, after the rebel leaders' meeting with Advani, who is also the Home Minister, said. In effect, the NLFT (Nayanbashi faction) and the Indian Government had agreed to a truce. Chief Minister Manik Sarkar later told this writer that the other faction (NLFT-B) represented by Mantu Koloi had indicated its desire to lay down arms within the next 15 to 20 days.

Ever since its formation in 1989 to secure an independent homeland for Tripura's minority tribes people, the NLFT has been indulging in a series of killings, extortions and kidnappings. Right from its inception, the group has projected itself as a champion of the State's tribal people, who comprise just about 28 per cent of the State's 3.2 million population. In a bid to consolidate its hold in local politics with a view to further its goal, the NLFT, extended support to the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) when it was formed in early 2002. The main grievance of the NLFT and the objectives of the INPT demonstrate a substantial commonality of interests - both groups seek to restore the rights and privileges of the tribals in Tripura, who were reduced to a minority in their own land by waves of migration from then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. The INPT, and the Congress, that was its ally until the elections to the Tripura State Legislature in February 2003, could not unseat the formidable Communist Party of India (Marxist) from power.

Frustration was fast creeping in within the NLFT rank and file. In February 2001, the outfit split, with a group led by Nayanbashi and Joshua Debbarma deserting Biswamohan. Joshua, and his small band of supporters, have, however, not agreed to join Nayanbashi in talking peace with New Delhi so far. According to intelligence officials, the main dispute that led Nayanbashi & Co to engineer the split in the NLFT was over financial irregularities. Besides, these officials also say that Nayanbashi was against Biswamohan's decision not to extend support to the Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF), a rebel outfit representing the minority Hindu Bru or Reang ethnic group in the neighbouring State of Mizoram. In July 2000, NLFT rebels killed nine BNLF militants inside Bangladesh, an act that angered Nayanbashi and his loyalists all the more. New Delhi insists that there are at least 194 camps belonging to different Indian insurgent groups, including the NLFT, inside Bangladesh, a claim that Dhaka has been denying, although its stand has become untenable in the wake of hard evidence. That the split was irreparable became clear when intelligence agencies got hold of a letter purportedly written by Nayanbashi in which he accused Biswamohan of 'betraying' the BNLF.

In the beginning of January 2004, Nayanbasi sent a letter to State authorities in Tripura, apparently from a safe house in the Comilla area of Bangladesh, indicating that he was interested in peace talks and willing to give up violence. The letter, though, had a few conditions included:

  1. A political position for Nayanbasi Jamatiya after he surrenders.
  2. Amnesty for all the NLFT-N cadres.
  3. A meeting with the Chief Minister prior to the surrender.
  4. Amnesty for the Tripura State Rifles (TSR) renegade Rahid Mian.

Except for the last demand, it was not really difficult for the authorities to concede the rest. Perhaps, the fulfillment of the first three conditions led to the current developments, resulting in the truce agreement. The last demand was a delicate one; the renegade TSR man, Rahid Mian, had earlier connived with the militants to kill three of his own colleagues on September 23, 2003, in the Shermun Tilla area in North Tripura district.

Nayanbashi was himself a rifleman from the TSR's 1st Battalion, hailing from the Trishabari area under West Tripura's Teliamura police station, and had fled his post at the Baramura Thermal Power Plant with a rifle on March 23, 1992, following a dispute with colleagues on the previous night. Having joined the NLFT with the adopted name of 'Major Nakbar', Nayanbasi rose fast in the outfit's hierarchy, mostly due to his skills in guerrilla warfare. Apart from internal differences with his boss, Biswamohan, which led to the split, New Delhi's sustained pressure on Bangladesh to stop extending direct or indirect support to the rebels operating from that country's territory were making things difficult. Besides, with an estimated 175 armed cadres, and an arsenal consisting of just a few AK series and self-loading rifles, it was becoming impossible for Nayanbashi and his men to really put up an adequate fight with the Indian security forces. Biswamohan's sharpshooters, moreover, were always on their trail. The successful military assault on the Indian rebels in the Bhutan's heavily wooded southern parts in December 2003 also had a tremendous demoralizing effect on the NLFT, as also other Northeast Indian insurgent groups. Tripura's poor tribals, further, were getting fed up with the insurgents, who would routinely collect a monthly 'tax', apart from rice and other foodstuff. Operating conditions were getting really difficult for the rebels to carry on.

Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said during a telephone interview with this writer on April 15, 2004, the day the NLFT factions agreed to a truce, that the rebels had seen the writing on the wall. "The people were craving peace and the rebels realized that if they refused to honour the sentiments of those who they seek to represent, they would be made irrelevant. Moreover, we have been always telling the militants to look for a solution by giving up violence and negotiating with the Government," the Chief Minister said. He said efforts were on to try and get Biswamohan and his group as well as the State's other rebel group, the All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF), to join the peace process.

The ATTF, too, is showing definite signs of softening its position. That Tripura's tribals, as also the majority Bengali community, are coming out in the open with their opposition to violence and the methods used by the rebels became clear once again when they defied the ATTF diktat to abstain from voting. At the end of polling for the Lok Sabha elections to the State's two parliamentary seats on April 22, 2004, nearly 65 per cent of Tripura's 1.97 million voters exercised their franchise. Under the circumstances, ATTF political wing chief Ranjit Debbarma's statement to the media on April 22, 2004, giving a conditional offer for entering into peace talks has not come as a surprise. Debbarma has put the following conditions:

  1. The Indian Government must accept 1952 as the cut-off year for determining the citizenship status of the migrants in Tripura. Those whose names did not figure in the 1952 voters' list should be declared as foreigners.
  2. The issue of sovereignty must be a point of discussion in any possible peace dialogue.
  3. The talks must be held in the presence of a representative from the United Nations.

Authorities, both in Agartala, the State capital, as well as in New Delhi, are not really excited by the ATTF offer. Still, they have taken note of the timing of the conditional offer that could well be the rebel group's signal that it, too, wants to be part of the peace process. The ATTF may even be marginalized if it doesn't involve itself in the efforts for peace in the State. As Tripura's Police chief, G.M.Srivastava, known for his non-conventional ways of dealing with insurgency, told this writer: "We are not taking chances and won't be complacent until all rebel factions and groups agree to put a halt to violence and engage in the peace talks."



Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
April 19-25, 2004

Security Force Personnel






     Jammu &








Total (INDIA)



 Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.


India to take up arms seizure issue during BSF-BDR meeting in Dhaka on April 28: The Director General of the Border Security Force (BSF) and his Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) counterpart are to meet in Dhaka on April 28, 2004, to discuss among others, the issue of activities of India's Northeastern terrorists based in Bangladesh and the recent seizure of a huge quantity of arms and ammunition in the port city of Chittagong. At the biennial six-day meeting in Dhaka,the Indian delegation is expected to seek closure of about 195 terrorist camps of North-East terrorists by providing their locations in Bangladesh, deportation of 90 prominent terrorist leaders and stoppage to influx of illegal migrants, official sources said in Delhi. Terming the arms seizure as a matter of concern, sources said the Indian delegation will urge Bangladesh to ensure that "there is no spill over of the weaponry to our side." The Bangladesh police and coastguard had on April 2, 2004, seized 690 7.62 mm T-56-I Sub-Machine Guns (SMGs); 600 7.62 mm T-56-2 SMGs; 150 40mm T-69 Rocket launchers; 840 40mm rockets; 400 9mm semi-automatic spot rifles; 100 'Tommy Guns'; 150 rocket launchers; 2000 launching grenades; 25,020 hand grenades; 6,392 magazines of SMG and other arms; 700,000 rounds of SMG bullets; and 739,680 rounds of 7.62 mm calibre; and 400,000 bullets of other weapons. The Hindu, April 26, 2004.

11-party alliance accuses Jamaat-e-Islami of developing Islamic militant network: According to a report in Independent, the left-wing 11-party alliance has alleged that the Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS) is developing an 'Islamic militant network' across the country by taking advantage of their partnership in the alliance Government. It has accused the armed militant groups of the Jamaat and its students' front, ICS, referred to as Mujahideen, of creating panic in different parts of Bangladesh, especially in the northern districts. They have demanded action against all those, including a Deputy Minister and the police, involved in creating a reign of terror in Natore, Naogaon and Rajshahi. In a written statement, Morshed Ali Khan, Coordinator of the 11-party alliance, alleged that armed fundamentalist groups are being patronised by Deputy Minister Ruhul Quddus Talukder Dulu, other influential BNP leaders of Rajshahi and the local police. Independent Bangladesh, April 23, 2004.


Three persons killed on the eve of second phase of polling in J&K: On the eve of phase-II of the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) polling in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) today, among various incidents of terrorist violence, at least three persons were killed and 30 sustained injuries during an election rally of the Chief Minister's daughter and People's Democratic Party (PDP) chief, Mehbooba Mufti, at Khull Ahmedabad in the Kulgam district on April 25, 2004. Terrorists also left 12 persons, including nine troops, wounded in a grenade attack at Lal Bazaar in the capital Srinagar while three Border Security Force personnel (BSF) were injured in grenade attacks on three Polling Stations in Budgam. Separately, unidentified terrorists opened gunfire on the motorcade of PDP Legislator from Pampore, Zahoor Ahmed Mir, at Poshboni Crossing in Pampore. His escort personnel retaliated and there was no damage on either side. Zahoor's father, Abdul Aziz Mir, who had been elected as the PDP Legislator from Pampore in October 2002, was killed by terrorists in December 2002. In another pre-election incident, terrorists fired five rifle grenades towards a complex at Sonpah in the Beerwah area of Budgam, which has been occupied by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and BSF units deployed for election duty. However, there was no damage on either side. Daily Excelsior, April 26, 2004.

Four persons killed and 17 injured during election-day violence in Jammu and Kashmir: Four persons were killed and at least 17 others sustained injured in election-related violence even as Jammu and Kashmir reportedly witnessed a moderate turnout in the two constituencies of Jammu and Baramulla which went to polls in the first phase of elections to the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) on April 20, 2004. According to preliminary estimates, Baramulla witnessed 36 percent polling while in Jammu-Poonch constituency it was 45 percent. All separatist outfits, including the two factions of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), and terrorist groups had asked the Kashmiri voters to boycott the elections. Terrorists caused Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and grenade explosions in close vicinity of polling stations at Pattan, Sumlar Bandipore, Pazalpora Rafiabad, Baramulla, Sopore, Rangat Langet, Wayil Kralpora and Hathlangoo Sopore. While at Sumlar, two polling officials and four police personnel sustained injuries, unidentified terrorists targeted the vehicle of an NGO, namely Coalition of Civil Societies, with a powerful IED blast at Chandigam in the Lolab segment of Kupwara district. Two persons, including a journalist, were killed and four others were wounded in this blast. Further, one soldier was killed and seven persons were injured when terrorists hurled a grenade towards a polling booth at Arampora-Sopore. Terrorists also opened fire at a polling booth in Pazalpora-Rafiabad killing one soldier. Separately, National Conference President and the party's candidate from Srinagar-Budgam Lok Sabha seat, Omar Abdullah, escaped unhurt when terrorists targeted him with an IED at Hayyatpora on the Budgam-Beerwah road. Daily Excelsior, April 21, 2004.


Tribesmen accused of sheltering Al Qaeda terrorists surrender in Waziristan: Five tribesmen accused of sheltering Al Qaeda terrorists surrendered to the Pakistan army at a tribal council on April 24, 2004. The five men from the Zalikhel tribe turned themselves in before a council and also reportedly pledged loyalty to Pakistan in return for clemency. The ceremony took place at a Madrassa (seminary) in Shakai, 20 kilometers north of Wana, in South Waziristan. "We give amnesty to these people in return for their pledge of brotherhood and loyalty," said Peshawar Corps Commander Lt. Gen. Safdar Hussain. "I congratulate Nek and his colleagues on their courageous decision. You are our brothers and your allegiance pledge is exemplary," Gen Hussain added after the wanted men joined him in the ceremony. The General also said that foreign terrorists had until April 30 to surrender and receive a pardon. He also announced the release of 50 tribesmen arrested last month and a grant of Rupees 90.1 million for development in Waziristan. Daily Times, April 25, 2004.

Suspected Pakistani terrorist planned Sydney blackout bombing: A suspected Pakistani terrorist, arrested in Australia, was reportedly plotting to black out the nation's largest city, Sydney, with a bomb attack on power supplies. Faheem Khalid Lodhi, arrested on April 22, 2004, planned to use a home-made bomb made of ammonium nitrate fertiliser to attack the electricity grid and was ordering the required chemicals under bogus company names. Lodhi is the second member of a suspected terrorist cell arrested in a week after 21-year-old Pakistani-born medical student Izhar-ul-Haq. Both Lodhi and Haq were arrested as a result of investigations into terrorist suspect Willie Brigitte, a French national who was deported from Australia late last year, and is being detained by authorities in France who believe that he was setting up a terrorist cell in Sydney. Both Brigitte and Haq allegedly have links to the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), which was designated as a terrorist organisation in Australia during November 2003. Jang, April 24, 2004.

Embassy in Thailand receives letter threatening terrorist attacks against eight US allies: The Pakistan embassy in Thailand's capital Bangkok has received a letter from a mysterious group threatening terrorist attacks against countries supporting the US-led operations in Iraq. The letter, similar to an earlier warning sent to the South Korean embassy, from a group calling itself "Yellow-Red Overseas Organisation," was reportedly received at the Pakistan mission on April 19, 2004. It threatened attacks on major facilities in Australia, Japan, Kuwait, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand between April 20 and 30. Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali is due to visit Thailand from April 28 to hold talks with his Thai counterpart Thaksin Shinawatra in Bangkok. Jang, April 21, 2004.

Joint Pakistan-China team to investigate arms smuggling from Northern Areas: A joint team of Pakistan and China will investigate the alleged arms smuggling into Chinese territories last week. Northern Areas (NA) official spokesperson Saeed Ahmed Khan, also the Home Secretary in NA, said that over seven Kalashnikov assault rifles and 30 bore pistols along with boxes of rounds were allegedly smuggled into China on Chinese trucks. The arms and ammunition were reportedly purchased from Peshawar and smuggled into China by hiding them in secret cavities of the trucks which were returning to China after off-loading the imported goods at Sust customs check point, he said. Khan also said that the weapons, recovered in China, were reportedly being supplied to Islamist extremists in Kashgher territory, which borders Pakistan. Dawn, April 22, 2004.


President Chandrika Kumaratunga invites Norway for mediation: The Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik has reportedly agreed to a request made by Sri Lankan President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga for Oslo to resume its facilitator role in the peace process between the Sri Lankan Government and Liberation Tigers of Tami Eelam (LTTE). "I said that Norway was willing to comply, on condition that the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) also ask us to play a role," Bondevik said in a statement after President Kumaratunga telephoned him late on April 22, 2004. "We must first get a request from the Tigers. If that comes, and we hope it will, we will consult both sides about how the process can be brought forward," Bondevik later told the Norwegian NRK public radio. Norway had temporarily withdrawn from the peace process in November 2003. Daily News, April 24, 2004.


The South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR) is a weekly service that brings you regular data, assessments and news briefs on terrorism, insurgencies and sub-conventional warfare, on counter-terrorism responses and policies, as well as on related economic, political, and social issues, in the South Asian region.

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