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Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
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Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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REPORTS ON ARMED CONFLICT IN TAMIL EELAM

Fighting on the Beaches and Battles Under the Sea

Chandi Sinnathurai

24 March 2008

[see also Tigers' deep sea mines pose new threat to Sri Lanka]


In the early hours of Saturday, March 22, off  Nayaru on the Mullaitivu coast the Sri Lankan State reported there was a “Mystery Blast”.  It was later revealed that the Tamil Tigers have sunk a “Sri Lankan Naval fast attack craft.”  The next day, the Defence Ministry of Sri Lanka came up with an educated view.  They said: “The guerrillas have appeared to have developed a new underwater capabilities.”

By this announcement the mystery was busted.  However, as the battles are heating up on all fronts ─ from both the occupied Tamil territories as well as the Tiger heart land, the Sri Lankan Government is still faced with sudden and surprise attacks – whether it be from the air, ground and even under the sea.  Sea mines or even the human torpedoes can make the Sinhala Naval forces that are patrolling the Tamil seas cringe.  But if the Sri Lankan Government intelligence is suspecting of the development of “new” underwater capabilities then that rules out the use of human torpedoes in this attack.  The question remains to be answered nonetheless, by the Sri Lankan intelligence is whether the Tigers have access to submarine warfare.   

If the Tamil Tigers manage to block out the intruding Sri Lankan Naval forces into the Tamil areas by such tactical manoeuvres, that will present an enormous challenge to the Sinhala forces.  Shipments of food and arms to the Sinhala military coming into the Northern front can be seriously disrupted if not completely blocked.   

Hence this “Symbolic” attack, has the potential to change the whole war-plan.  There could be a series of synchronised and well co-ordinated land, sea (underwater) and ground attacks.  Should such guerrilla attacks were to spread across the whole island, not limited to the Tamil territories,  wouldn’t that be similar to a roaring lion being killed by the continuous stinging attacks of a colony of bees. 

It looks like that the whole psychology of the Sinhala war-politics has to shift gears.  The writing is indelibly on the waters of the Tamil sea.


Tigers' deep sea mines pose new threat to Sri Lanka
India e news, 23 March 2008

The Tamil Tigers' deep sea underwater capability demonstrated off the eastern Sri Lankan coast Saturday might have added a new dimension to the military conflict, The Sunday Times said.

The navy could be facing a new challenge in the coming months if the Tamil guerrillas continue to attack Sri Lankan vessels with sea mines or human torpedoes, the weekly paper said.

A sea mine sunk a Sri Lankan naval Fast Attack Craft (FAC) off Nayaru on the Mullaitivu coast at about 2.25 a.m. Saturday. And although six men were rescued in the vicinity, the fate of 10 others was not known, it added.

Survivors said that they saw no Tiger vessel in the vicinity either with the naked eye or electronically and that there was no confrontation or firing. Hence the suspicion about a sea mine being the cause of the deadly explosion.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), however, gave a different version of the incident. The LTTE said there was a confrontation between the Sri Lankan Navy and a suicide squad of the Sea Tigers in which 14 navy men were killed and one FAC was sunk.

The LTTE further said that three Tigers, including a 'Lt. Colonel' and two women cadres, all members of the Black Tiger suicide squad, were killed. The names of the dead were announced.

The Sunday Times, quoting unnamed defence officials, said the Sri Lankan gun boat might have been destroyed by a human torpedo.

The other speculation is that LTTE suicide divers might have fixed a mine on the hull of the ill-fated vessel.

It was possible that an LTTE boat had dropped off the suicide squad and the latter, armed with the right underwater equipment, could have been lying low for hours waiting for an opportunity to strike, a military expert told IANS.

Assuming a sea mine sunk the FAC, The Sunday Times said: 'The extensive use of such mines can impede naval movement in the high seas. This is not only confined to patrolling the seas.

More importantly, the navy provides the bulk of the security cover for movement of food and military supplies to some 40,000 troops and policemen deployed in the government-controlled Jaffna peninsula. They are transported from Trincomalee to Kankesanthurai.

'In addition, the vast majority of troops and police personnel are also escorted at sea by the navy.'

The exact location of the incident had not been given by any of the parties but the paper said that it was clearly in the deep sea, which is worrying. The LTTE might have learnt to carry on such covert operations in the deep sea, generally considered safe for shipping.

The Sri Lankan navy too had recently laid mines to deter LTTE ships. The chief of the Chennai-based Indian Coast Guard had warned Indian fishermen that if they strayed into Sri Lankan waters, they could be hit by sea mines.

 

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