Monday, September 14, 2009

Sharjah Gun Running Exposed

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan experts on terrorism have said that the LTTE maintained a front company in Karachi to arrange arms smuggling and a safe house in Peshawar for contacts with Taliban.

According to Shanaka Jayasekara, who carried out research on terrorism at the Macquarie University of Australia, LTTE’s arms procurer Selvarasa Pathmanathan alias KP travelled from Bangkok to Kabul via Karachi on May 19, 2001, and met Taliban leaders to discuss matters relating to the so-called ‘Sharjah network’, an arms supply line run by the Russian dealer Victor Bout who operated three to four flights a day to Kabul to transport weapons.

Lakbima News online quotes Mr Jayasekara as saying that the LTTE operated a cargo company in Dubai, 17kms from the offices of the Sharjah network.

The company named ‘Otharad Cargo’ was headed by Daya, younger brother of Nithi, a Canada-based member of LTTE’s arms procurement unit under KP.

Otharad Cargo is believed to have acquired several consignments of military hardware as part of consolidated purchase arrangements with Taliban’s Sharjah network.

Mr Jayasekara claims that information recovered from a laptop computer of an LTTE procurement agent, now in the custody of a western country, has provided detailed information on LTTE’s activities in Pakistan.

The LTTE had registered the front company in Karachi which procured several consignments of weapons for the LTTE as well as Pakistani militant groups.

A shipment of weapons procured by the company was intercepted and destroyed by Sri Lankan navy in September 2007, he says.

Lakbima News cites a Jane’s Intelligence report of November 2002 on terrorist financing in South Asian states which says that LTTE’s shipping fleet provided logistic support to Harakatul Mujahideen for transporting a consignment of weapons to the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in the Philippines.

The LTTE used a merchant vessel registered by a front company in Lattakia, Syria, until 2002 to service most of its 'grey/black charters'.

According to Rohan Gunaratna, a Sri Lankan expert on terrorism with the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism in Malaysia, the LTTE had links with jihadis in the NWFP and had a safe house in Peshawar.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said recently that Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa had told him in Tripoli that elements in Sri Lanka were linked with terrorist incidents in Pakistan, including an attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore on March 3.

Source: Pakistan Dawn

No comments: