SOUTH ASIA INTELLIGENCE REVIEW
The trail of destruction that accompanied the attempted assassination of Sri Lankas Army Commander, General Sarath Fonseka, on April 25, 2006, when set against some of the earlier massacres by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Colombo, appears relatively small. It may be recalled that the slaughter of civilians in the city on a much larger scale occurred in the bazaar areas of Pettah (1987, 114 deaths) and Maradana (1987, 33 deaths); at Armour Street (1993, 23 deaths); at an election rally in Colombo North (1994, 54 deaths); at the Dehiwala Railway Station (1996, 55 deaths); at the Central Bank (1996, 89 deaths); in an omnibus at Panchikawatte (1998, 40 deaths); at the Independence Square (1999, 23 deaths); in an attack on a political procession at the Dehiwala Junction (2000, 22 deaths), and at the door-step of the Prime Ministers office (2000, 15 deaths). The death toll on April 25 was confined to eleven soldiers and, of course, the suicide bomber. The General, though seriously injured, has survived.
Even as an operation targeting military establishments in Colombo, the recent attack is not without precedence. There was, for instance, the massive explosion at the Headquarters of the Joint Operations Command in 1991 that killed almost fifty, and the twin explosions at the entrance to the Army Headquarters at Slave Island in 1995, where the number killed was about 15. There were, in addition, the assassinations of General Ranjan Wijeratne, (Minister of Defence) and Admiral Clancy Fernando, the Chief of the Sri Lanka Navy during the early 1990s.
These numerous excesses provide a context for, but are not particularly germane to an assessment, from a short-term perspective, of the significance of the April 25 assassination attempt. Perhaps the foremost among the considerations genuinely relevant to such an assessment is that this incident represents an escalation of the war of attrition which the LTTE, despite its proclaimed commitment to preserving the four-year-old Ceasefire Agreement, has been waging against the Government over the past months in the form of sporadic but deadly attacks on Security Forces personnel, military encampments located in the northern and eastern parts of the country and some civilian targets. According to a Government press release dated April 10, 2006, about 150 armed services personnel have, in fact, been killed in such attacks since Mahinda Rajapakse was elected President of Sri Lanka in November 2005. Thus, although the LTTE had not suspended the practice of targeting individual enemies including those living in Colombo (the most illustrious among its recent victims being Lakshman Kadirgamar assassinated on August 12, 2005), the attack on the Army Commander could be regarded as signifying the actual extension of its war of attrition to the capital city.
The LTTE decision to broaden the scope of its belligerency should be understood in the context of certain recent changes in the political configurations that pertain to Sri Lankas ethnic conflict. One of these is President Rajapakses remarkable success in consolidating his grip over the politics of Sri Lankas South. Elected to office with a wafer-thin majority, and despite formidable opposition from within the ranks of his own Party, including that of the mercurial President Chandrika Kumaratunga, Rajapakse has, since, violated almost all his campaign pledges concerning both the macro-economy as well as the national question. The strange irony is that, precisely for this reason, he has gained in popularity and, far more significantly (political popularity being ephemeral), succeeded in a way that none of his predecessors in the office of President had done, in achieving a higher level of inter-party consensus for his approach to the ethnic problem. The message he conveys with all the gravitas at his command, that he remains unswerving in his commitment to the Mahinda Chintanaya (ideology) as proclaimed in his election manifesto, appears to carry sufficient credibility to attract at least the guarded support not only of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), widely perceived as representing exclusively Sinhalese-Buddhist interests, but also of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) of the plantation Tamils, both of which were aligned with Ranil Wickremasinghe of the United National Front (UNF) in last years race for the Presidency. The UNF, his arch parliamentary rival, reeling from the effects of ignominious electoral defeats (presidential and local government), cannot help but endorse Rajapakses essentially pacifist stance. Indeed, as matters stand at present, it is only from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), branded as proxies of the LTTE in mainstream politics, that Rajapakse does not draw support. Apart from the broad internal consensus which he now enjoys, Rajapakse appears to be gaining increasing endorsement and support from those of the International Community proactive in Sri Lankan affairs, who at the time of the presidential election left hardly any doubt about their preference for Ranil Wickremasinghe.
President Rajapakses gains serve as a constant reminder of the tactical blunder of the LTTE demigod Prabhakaran who, by preventing the voters of the north and parts of the east from participating at the presidential polls of 2005, deprived Ranil Wickremasinghe of almost certain victory. The LTTE strategy was based upon the premise that Wickremasinghe, hailed internationally as the peace candidate, if elected, would place in serious jeopardy the secessionist cause, and thus make it impossible to sustain its liberation struggle. The expectation was that Rajapakse, when elected, impelled by his hawkish allies in the JVP and JHU, will actually attempt to implement his campaign pledge, repeated at many a platform, to jettison the existing Ceasefire Agreement with the LTTE and to evict the White Tigers (Norwegians) from their role of facilitator of the peace efforts. This, the LTTE undoubtedly hoped, would pave the way for a resumption of the Eelam War in earnest, backed by vastly enhanced international sympathy and support for the LTTE. Rajapakses performance as President has blasted that hope. He and his allies are probably aware that nothing could be gained from negotiating with the Tigers. But they are equally aware that everything could be lost by anything less than total overt commitment to the pursuit of peace through negotiation.
The escalation of LTTE violence over the past months undoubtedly represents its leaderships response to these unanticipated political transformations. Understandably, therefore, the Tigers have adopted an approach of brinkmanship in which two objectives can be discerned first, directing the resumed negotiations towards strategic gains for itself in its confrontations, especially in the eastern parts of the country; and second, provoking a retaliatory response of violence either from the Government or in the form of Sinhalese mob attacks on the Tamils of the type witnessed in July 1983.
The principal strategic gain which the LTTE hopes to achieve is that of destroying the challenge to its hegemony over the eastern lowlands of Sri Lanka from its renegades led by Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, alias Karuna. Ever since the outbreak of the Karuna revolt in March 2004, the LTTE (based as it is in the northern plains of Vanni) has been losing its grip over the Tamil areas of the east. Karuna now represents the biggest challenge ever not only to the LTTE claim of being the sole representative of the Tamils of Sri Lanka, but also to its entire secessionist campaign for, without the East, there could be no viable Eelam. The LTTE insists (as a precondition for its participation in further peace negotiations) that the security forces of the Government of Sri Lanka must disarm the Karuna faction. This, indeed, is a strange demand, given the fact that at least over the first three months of the revolt, spokesman for the LTTE, including its leader Prabhakaran, its chief negotiator Anton Balasingham and the Norwegian special envoy Eric Solheim, persisted with an almost intimidatory demand, backed by a threat of withdrawal from the Ceasefire Agreement, that the Sri Lanka Government should refrain from interfering with the Karuna-led revolt. The LTTEs present assertion that the Government is bound by the terms of the ceasefire agreement of February 2002 to disarm the Karuna group lacks substance, given the fact that no such group existed at the time of the Agreement. Likewise, its claim that Karuna cadres serve as a paramilitary group supported by the Government remains a canard which the LTTE has not been able to substantiate with credible evidence. Indeed, the Karuna hideouts are located in the so-called uncleared areas over which the Government is denied control under the terms of the ceasefire. Karunas men, it must also be noted, employ the same will-o-the wisp murder tactics which the LTTE has continued to use against individuals it wishes to liquidate i.e. gunmen or grenadiers operating individually or in pairs in surprise attacks on their targets. What these imply is that, as past records of murder committed by the LTTE themselves illustrate, the Security Forces of the Government are incapable of preventing such attacks even if they are motivated to do so. It is in the context of this reality that the undoubtedly well-intentioned criticism by Philip Alston (UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-judicial or Arbitrary Executions) should be considered. According to Alston, there exists a dangerous indifference on the part of the Government to other armed elements responsible for attacks, including the Karuna group. Alston has stressed, however, that the LTTEs characterisation of its political opponents within the Tamil community as paramilitaries is a gross oversimplification of a complex situation. More categorically, Karuna himself has vehemently denied any involvement with the Security Forces of the Government, and had attributed the allegation to the desperate mindset of the Vanni faction in the Eastern Province.
With regard to the second objective referred to above that of instigating, through acts of terrorism, a Government or civilian backlash on the Tamils, the LTTE has been perilously close to success, not through its attempted assassination of the Army Commander, but in a sequence of events the origins of which could be traced back to the immediate aftermath of the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement when the LTTE established several of its military encampments in the Sampur area south of the Trincomalee Bay, from where it launched occasional attacks on military and civilian targets. After March 2004, these encampments were also used for its anti-Karuna offensives. In the more recent past, especially since late March 2006, there was a distinct escalation of violence in the Trincomalee area featured both by frequent LTTE bomb attacks on Security Forces personnel as well as by the killing of LTTE activists, presumably by those of the Karuna group. The most prominent among the latter category of victims was Vanniasingham Vigneswaran, an LTTE activist and president of the Trincomalee District Tamil Peoples Forum, who was murdered on April 7, 2006. The retaliatory killings that ensued culminated in a bomb explosion by the LTTE at a crowded market on April 12, at which the majority of victims were Sinhalese civilians. This event was followed by a 3-day backlash of homicide, arson and looting in various parts of the town and its suburbs by Sinhalese mobs consisting mainly of the lumpen elements of the town and of military personnel in civilian clothing. According to a report compiled by a prominent journalist (published in the Tamil Times of April 21), the bombing of the market and the riots that followed caused the death of 20 civilians 11 Tamils, 7 Sinhalese and 2 Muslims. Over the three-day spell of rioting, the LTTE had also added to its score of murders a further 16 personnel of the Army and the Police. Thus, by the time of the bomb attack on the Army Commander on April 25, the mutual animosity between the LTTE and the Security Forces stationed in the Trincomalee area had reached fever pitch. This was probably why the LTTE encampments in the Sampur area were specifically identified by the Government for its retaliatory air strikes following the assassination attempt.
Each such incident, and the inevitable chain of escalating violence that it provokes, strains the fragile peace in Sri Lanka. The Ceasefire Agreement has held out despite deliberate, continuous and massive violations by the LTTE. There is, however, no way to predict what could prove to be the proverbial last straw which would hurl the country into open war again.
The State Abdicates
There is little semblance of governmental authority in Manipur, and, on April 23, Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh confirmed in public what had, in the past, largely remained a matter of private discussion. At a public meeting in Thoubal district, Singh confessed, All development projects have been stalled for interference by militant outfits (sic). The construction of a flyover in Imphal (the State capital) is delayed because the militant outfits are demanding a certain percentage of the project fund. The construction of the Assembly complex has also been similarly stalled. The Chief Minister stated further: Militants are extorting money from each and ever one, including barbers, small-time traders and low-ranking Government employees. This has become unbearable for the people. Militant groups have sprung up as cooperative societies in Manipur.
Ibobi Singhs statement, apart from reflecting the states impotence, is only a part of the narrative on militancy in the State, which accounts for just 0.23 per cent of the country's population, and 0.68 per cent of its total geographical area. Violence by 15 active outfits, with a total cadre strength of about 10,000, ensured that, in 2005, Manipur remained the most violent State in Indias Northeast, and the second most violent in the country, behind Jammu & Kashmir. According to the Annual Report 2005-06 of the Ministry of Home Affairs, 410 fatalities were recorded in 2005 in militancy related activities in Manipur, a huge leap over the corresponding figure of 258 in 2004. While a number of other States in the Northeast have or are been reclaimed from protracted insurgencies, Manipurs rendezvous with militancy appears to be an unending affair. According to Institute for Conflict Management data, sustained terrorist violence in 2006 had already claimed 118 lives in the State by April 30. Although terrorists constituted a little over 50 per cent of the total fatalities, figures for civilians (38) and security force personnel (19) remained high. Unabated extortion and its impact on ordinary lives, as well as those of people at the helm of affairs is symptomatic of the complete administrative breakdown in the State.
Militant excesses and extortion affects everyone, from humble school teacher to the Chief Minister of the State. A sampling of recent incidents reflects the pervasive reality of terror:
The breakdown of administration in Manipur has long been noted with a number of groups undermining the very possibility of governance. The militant KYKL, with an avowed agenda ridding the State of endemic corruption in the education sector, decreed, on April 24, 2006, that it would henceforth no longer kneecap the corrupt officials in the education department, but would summarily inflict capital punishment. Langamba Mangang, the groups publicity and research secretary, warned, Corruption in the education department will not be tolerated anymore. Based on the gravity of the crime, death penalty will be given without any warning to officials found guilty of corruption. KYKL cadres had, in fact, shot the Director of Education, Dr. Ch Jayenta on April 4, 2006, leaving him critically injured. In a statement issued on April 23, the outfit declared that it had prescribed the death penalty for him on account of his involvement in countless acts of corruption.
In another dramatic development, on April 16, 2006, the City Meitei faction of the Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) detained editors of six newspapers published from Imphal overnight on the grounds that the newspapers had failed to publish a statement issued by the outfit on the occasion of its raising day. The editors were set free only after these newspapers published the statement verbatim. A two-year ban was also imposed by the outfit on the Imphal Free Press, one of the prominent English language dailies published from the State capital. The ban was revoked only after newspapers in Imphal went off the stands on April 19 in protest against such interference. In the context of a completely hands off approach on the part of the Administration, such rare demonstrations of solidarity among the victims have been a source of a modicum of order in the State.
In a particularly appalling action, on January 16, 2006, United National Liberation Front (UNLF) and KCP militants went on rampage in the Lungthulien and Parbung villages of Churachandpur District, raping 21 women of the Hmar tribe. The incident was reported only in the first week of March, as the victims had chosen to remain silent fearing reprisals from the militants. After prolonged demonstrations the State Government constituted the Justice S.P. Rajkhowa Commission to inquire into the incident. Irrespective of the findings of the Commission, however, bringing the militants to justice remains outside the current capacities of the Government. Continuing militant excesses underline this point, and reports on April 28 indicated that atrocities by UNLF militants had forced about 200 Hmar tribals from villages like Damdiai to flee into bordering Mizoram. Similar incidents of militant atrocities have also been reported in the past from Lungthulien, Parbung, Taithu and Tualbung villages. Further, an unidentified militant outfit forced people out of three villages in Kangpokpi sub-division of Senapati District following a factional clash on April 23. Armed militants astride motorcycles effected large-scale displacement from the Sipichang, Saitu and Songlung villages, located barely 70 kilometres away from the State capital, Imphal. A portion of National Highway 39, connecting Imphal to Kohima, the capital of Nagaland, has been taken over by militants, who have declared a curfew in the area.
A number of high profile attacks have been executed periodically by the militants, and the current year already accounts for the following:
The States paralysis is inexplicable from a purely security perspective. Apart from high level deployment of the Army and Para-military Forces, Manipur actually boasts of a dramatically higher police-population ratio, at 531 per 100,000 population, than the national average at 123. Apart from a comparatively top heavy structure the ratio of Police officials from Director General to Assistant Sub-Inspector level to that of Head constables and constables is 1.9 compared to the national average of 1.7 the Police remain peripheral to the counter-insurgency effort, largely confined to the role of passive spectator. Thus, despite the grossly exaggerated police-population ratio, Central forces account for a bulk of terrorist fatalities in the State. According to the Annual Report of the Manipur Police, its personnel were responsible for the death of 55 terrorists in 2005. A total of 202 militants were killed in that year, according to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
At the meeting in Thoubal on April 23, where Chief Minister Singh confessed his predicament, the States Governor S.S. Sidhu spoke of our disgruntled brothers and mildly suggested that the path they were following was not the right one. This tentative and morally ambiguous position is precisely what has undermined the authority of the state and of law in Manipur for years now. There is an acute disinclination to take strong action against the mounting excesses of our brothers, and as long as such attitudes persist, Manipur will remain a living hell for a majority of its people.
Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
April 24 - 30, 2006
Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.
Top JMB leaders Saifullah and Salahuddin arrested: On April 25 and 26, 2006, during separate pre-dawn raids, members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), arrested two Majlish-e-Shura (the highest policy-making body) members of the Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), Khaled Saifullah and Salahuddin, from Konapara in the capital Dhaka and Halisahar in Chittagong, respectively. With the arrest of these two, all seven Majlish-e-Shura members of the outfit have been arrested. On April 26, Saifullah was arrested along with his wife, three children and brother, from a rented house at 8, Ideal Road, Paradagair under Demra Police Station in Dhaka city. RAB personnel also arrested the house owner, Hafez Mohammad Ullah, for his suspected linkages with the JMB. Salahuddin was arrested a day earlier along with six of his associates from Chittagong. The Independent, April 27, 2006.
kill 22 Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir: At
least 22 Hindus were reportedly killed by terrorists
in the Kulhan area of Doda district in the early hours
of May 1, 2006. According to initial unconfirmed reports,
women and children were among the victims. The terrorists
opened indiscriminate fire and also used sharp-edged
weapons to kill the victims, according to Times
of India. "We have sent parties to verify
the details. The area is hilly and far off, it will
take a while to confirm the exact details," Deputy
Inspector General of Police, Lalat Indu Mohanty, said.
He disclosed that initial reports suggested the victims
were Hindus, though their exact number was not known.
No terrorist group has claimed responsibility for
the killing thus far. The
Times of India, May 1, 2006.
kill abducted Indian engineer in Afghanistan:
On April 30, 2006 the Taliban beheaded Indian telecom
engineer, K. Suryanarayana, less than 48 hours after
abducting him from Zabul province on the main highway
linking Kabul and Kandahar. Suryanarayana, an engineer
hailing from the State of Andhra Pradesh in southern
India, was working for a Bahrain company Al Moayed
on a telecom project. His beheaded body was found
on the road between Qalat and Ghazni on April 30-morning.
Reports from Afghanistan said his body bore marks
of torture and his face was mutilated. The Taliban
spokesman, Qari Yousef Mohammed, claimed to news agencies
in Kabul that Suryanarayanas death was "unintentional".
The Taliban had put 7 pm, April 30, as deadline for
India to pull out all its citizens from projects in
Times of India, May 1, 2006.
Maoists kill 15 abducted persons in Chhattisgarh: Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres killed 15 of the 52 abducted villagers and released the rest in the Dantewada District on April 29, 2006. While 13 bodies were recovered on April 28 near Manikonta village, two bodies were found in the same village on April 27. The villagers were reportedly activists of the now suspended anti-Maoist Salwa Judum movement. The Hindu, April 30, 2006.
11 Maoists killed in Andhra Pradesh: 11 cadres of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), including some women, were killed by the Andhra Pradesh Police deep inside a forest on the border of the Cuddapah and Chittoor districts on April 28, 2006. Nineteen other Maoists escaped following the encounter at Pulusukunta near Pincha in the Tsundupalle Mandal (administrative division). The police said more than 30 armed Maoists had camped at Pulusukunta, possibly for a meeting of Maoists from the Cuddapah and Anantapur Districts. The police also recovered Rupees 350,000 in cash, two self-loading rifles, one sten gun, one .303 rifle, one pistol, three single barrel guns, three Claymore mines and a tin bomb. As many as 30 kit bags, one night vision camera, two electric wire bundles, six water drums, revolutionary literature and provisions were also recovered. The Telegraph, April 29, 2006.
declare three-month unilateral cease-fire:
On April 26, 2006, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
announced a unilateral cease-fire for three months with
immediate effect. Issuing a statement, Maoist Chairman
Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda said the truce was
for facilitating the ongoing "peoples struggle"
for a Constituent Assembly and a democratic republic "so
as to lead the struggle to a historic conclusion"
and for encouraging the parliamentary political parties
to announce the formation of a Constituent Assembly. "During
the ceasefire, the Peoples Liberation Army wont
launch any offensive action," Prachanda said. The
Maoists also withdrew the blockade of the Kathmandu Valley
and other District headquarters on April 26. Nepal
News, April 27, 2006.
King Gyanendra reinstates dissolved House of Representatives: In a televised address to the nation on April 24, 2006, King Gyanendra restored the House of Representatives that was dissolved on May 22, 2002. In the royal proclamation, the King said, "Convinced that the source of State Authority and Sovereignty of the Kingdom of Nepal is inherent in the people of Nepal and cognizant of the spirit of the ongoing people's movement as well as to resolve the on-going violent conflict and other problems facing the country according to the road map of the agitating Seven Party Alliance, we, through this Proclamation, reinstate the House of Representatives which was dissolved on 22 May 2002 on the advice of the then Prime Minister in accordance with the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal, 1990."
Subsequently, on April 27, the King appointed Nepali Congress President, Girirja Prasad Koirala, as the new Prime Minister. A statement issued by the Palace disclosed that Koirala was appointed as Prime Minister on the recommendation of the Seven Party Alliance and in accordance with the Constitution of the Kingdom, 1990. Nepal News, April 28, 2006.
324 terrorists and 56 soldiers killed in nine months in Waziristan: The Pakistan Army is in full control of Waziristan, where 324 militants have been killed in operations over the past nine months, officials said on April 29, 2006. The military made the claim as they accompanied a team of foreign journalists to Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan near the border with Afghanistan. Briefing journalists, top officials said 39 major operations had been conducted since July 2005 to flush out Al Qaeda-linked foreign and local militants. They said 142 militants had been arrested and 76 foreign militants and 56 soldiers had been killed in the operations. Miranshah was the scene of fierce battles between pro-Taliban militants and the Army in March 2006 which killed 145 militants, chief military spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan told reporters. He said up to 1,500 militants had attacked Miranshah and described the March 4-8 clashes as the heaviest in the region. Daily Times, April 30, 2006.
Talibanism spilling over into settled areas, says President Musharraf: President Pervez Musharraf is reported to have told British newspaper The Guardian that "Extremism in a Talibanised form is what people are now going for. Mullah Omar and the Taliban have influence in Waziristan and its spilling over into our settled areas." He also admitted that his popularity was waning, but claimed he was "not a poodle" of US President George W. Bush and rejected accusations he was running a military dictatorship. "When you are talking about fighting terrorism or extremism, Im not doing that for the US or Britain. Im doing it for Pakistan," he said. "Its not a question of being a poodle. Im nobodys poodle. I have enough strength of my own to lead." If necessary he had "teeth" to bite back, he added.
Gen. Musharraf also defended his tactic of using military force instead of negotiations to quell the violence and said some collateral damage was inevitable when terrorists hideouts were attacked. "We take extreme care to be 100 per cent sure of the target from all sources of intelligence... There is minimum collateral damage. If someone happens to be very close to [the target], that somebody is an abettor and they suffer the loss. Sometimes, indeed, women and children have been killed but they have been right next to the place. Its not that the strike was inaccurate but they happen to be there, so therefore they are all supporters and abettors of terrorism and therefore they have to suffer. Its bad luck," he said. Daily Times, April 29, 2006.
Two Lashkar-e-Toiba charities placed on US terrorist list: The United States put two Pakistani charities on its terrorist list on April 28, 2006, saying they were fronts for the proscribed Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). The State Department announced that it was freezing assets in the United States belonging to Jamaat-ud-Dawa and one of its affiliates, Idara Khidmat-i-Khalq. Jamaat-ud-Dawa has been prominent in providing relief after the October 8, 2005-earthquake in Pakistan. Dawn, April 29, 2006.
LTTE suicide attack injures Army Chief and kills eight persons in Colombo: Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka was critically injured while at least eight persons were killed when a female suicide cadre of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), disguised as a pregnant woman, blew herself up in front of the military hospital inside the Colombo Army headquarters on April 25, 2006. Twenty-seven persons were injured in the explosion. Military spokesperson, Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe, stated that it was Maternity Day at the Army Hospital and as a practice pregnant women entering the Army Hospital premises are not subject to stringent security checks.
Following the attack, the Air Force launched a series of strikes on the LTTE-held Sampoor area in the Trincomalee District. A Government statement said that hours after the Colombo suicide attack, the " LTTE positioned in the Sampoor area in Trincomalee launched an attack on the Navy in Trincomalee and the security forces have carried out an operation to deter further attacks by the LTTE." Brigadier Samarasinghe informed that the latest strikes came after the LTTE fired on naval patrol craft off the eastern port of Trincomalee for a second day. He added, "The navy is heavily patrolling the area. They requested air support." Referring to the two-day strikes on "selected targets" in Trincomalee, the President's Office in a statement issued on April 27 said, "the limited Security Forces operation" had "now been concluded." Daily News, April 28 & April 26, 2006.
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