SLMM Head visits Sea Tiger base in Mullaithivu

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 31 May 2006, 23:56 GMT]
"Unless the SLMM is present in LTTE vessels, the monitors would not be able to make clear judgements on the disputes that may arise between the Liberation Tigers and the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) in the seas," Col. Soosai, the special commander of the LTTE told Maj. Gen. Ulf Henricsson, who was on a familiarising trip to LTTE controlled areas this week. The Sea Tiger Special Commander received the Head of Mission in Mullaithivu on Wednesday.

Maj. Gen. Ulf Henricsson with an SLMM official in Mullaithivu

During the two hour long visit to the Mullaithivu naval base, Col. Soosai told the monitors that restoring normalcy to the people along the shores, and SLMM presence on LTTE vessels were two immediate measures necessary to avoid the escalation of hostilities, and to prevent a full scale war.

Maj. Gen. Ulf Henricsson received by Sea Tigers Special Commander Col. Soosai

Northern Front Forces Commander Lawrance (behind Henricsson) showing the Sri Lanka Army FDL from LTTE FDL near Muhamalai
SLMM delegation on familiarisation trip to Mullaithivu
Maj. Gen. Henricsson visiting an LTTE FDL bunker
Ulf Henricsson talking to Mariyarasa, Mullaithivu fisheries community leader
The Ceasefire and the post-tsunami efforts, facilitated and supported by the International Community have so far failed to restore normalcy and ensure the basic livelihood needs of the fishing community, a key economy in the northeast, Soosai said.

The fishermen are forced to operate under threatening conditions in Sri Lankan military controlled areas. They are only allowed to fish within a 3 km zone from the shore from 6:00 a.m. till 6:00 p.m., amid SLN harassments, Col. Soosai said. The other important means of livelihood in the northeast, agriculture, is also affected by the demarcation of large areas of fertile lands as High Security Zones, and the SLA occupation, he added.

The Sea Tiger Commander reiterated the need for the presence of SLMM monitors in LTTE vessels to monitor SLN violations, and to facilitate transportation of LTTE cadres transportation. Monitors' presence will serve as a deterrent to SLN engaging in provocative acts, and thereby prevent clashes in the seas that can lead to full scale war, Soosai warned.

The SLMM Head, on a familiarising trip to LTTE controlled areas, visited the institutions central to LTTE's de facto administration, the Tamileelam Police, the Tamileelam judiciary, humanitarian projects and the Muhamalai Forward Defence Line (FDL) of the Tigers where he met the Northern Front Forces Commander Lawrance at 4:30 p.m., sources said.

"The Sea Tigers have destroyed nearly half the fleet of the Sri Lanka Navy in the sea battles from 1985, when the first Sea Tiger died, till the Ceasefire in 2002, and have evolved into a powerful naval force, sacrificing more than 1300 cadres in the sea against the enemy fleet," the Special Commander of the Liberation Tigers naval wing, the Sea Tigers, told Mr Henriccson.

"The Sea Tigers were able to transport and move their Commanders and personnel at will throughout these years.

"The then Head of SLMM, following the CFA, paid cordial visits and facilitated our sea travels with SLMM monitors present in our own vessels, but now the GoSL has unilaterally rejected this already agreed and practised arrangement," Col. Soosai told Henricsson.

Sea Tigers, with several squadrons of striking capabilities in the seas off northeast coasts, some even in the seas off the Southern Sri Lanka, are a full-fledged naval force and a determining factor in maintaining military parity with the Sri Lanka armed forces, Col. Soosai said, explaining the history of the Sea Tigers to Maj. Gen. Henricsson.

The SLMM Head explained the resource limitations and commented on the number of SLMM rulings of violations in the seas.

Ulf Henricsson also met the Fisheries Society President in Mullaithivu, Mr. Mariyarasa Wednesday morning.

SLMM Head viewing the LTTE built naval craft

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