Tigers Cashing on in Germany
The rebel organization "Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam" finances its war in Sri Lanka with the assistance of an international network.
One thing is sure after Wednesday's devastating bomb attack by Tamil terrorists on the luxury hotel "Galadari" in Sri Lanka's capital of Colombo: the heavy bomb which killed 18 people and wounded more than 100 people was also financed by German social welfare money.
There are 40000 Tamil asylum-seekers and refugees in Germany. Many of them donate - voluntarily or under pressure-part of their income to the international organization "Welt Tamilen Verein" (World Tamil Movement), which provides the financial means for the civil war of the "Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam" (LTTE), "I have to pay a liberation tax of a day's salary each month", 35 year-old Nadarajan X., who is a recognized refugee and works as a kitchen aid in Berlin, complains.
Those who do not pay are apparently punished by the organization. The Report on Internal Security of Nordrhein-Westfalen says: "In 1996, the Public Prosecutors Office in Dusseldorf filed a suit against members of the LTTE for violent blackmailing in order to raise funds". However, there have not been any verdicts against the money collectors yet. In the course of the proceedings, the Tamil witnesses who were originally prepared to give evidence, suddenly could not remember anything.
Worner Toyer, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, assumes that there is a "situation of Secrecy", based on pure fear, within the Tamil groups in exile. Fore many years, observers of the Federal Bureau of criminal investigation and of the Internal Security have been warning against an alarming development of conspiratorial cells in the bigger communities of refugees, for example in the Ruhr area and in Berlin, where 3000 Tamil are living. However, the LTTE managed to tie a network of bogus companies, "Cultural Societies" and a hundred schools and kindergartens, which, according to what the Internal Security has found out, is used as money machine and a disciplining apparatus by about 650 LTTE officials. The Government in Colombo suspects that the German Headquarters of the rebels has the address of the Tamil Social Service in Wuppertal.
There are similarities with the tactics of the Kurd terror organization PKK in Germany: Tamils and Kurds are demanding a state of their own and their guerrilla organizations are Marxist. There have even been concrete indications for a joint trade with arms. According to British sources, the PKK is supposed to have sold eleven ground-air missiles of the type Stinger to the LTTE. For this purpose, part of the money was probably also collected in Germany.
An official of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs admits in a private conversation: "Unfortunately, we have ignored the problem of the LTTE for too long. Now it is becoming increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to crack their structures in Germany." The USA confirm this. It was only last week the Government of President Clinton put the Tamil Liberation Tigers on the list of the 30 most dangerous international terror organizations.
Sri Lanka's rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, aged 43, demands two million dollars each month for his war chest from the Tamils living abroad. The amount collected in Germany is not known in detail, but it probably comes to about the same monthly contributions collected in Switzerland (660,000 dollars) and Canada (730,000 dollars).
In view of the increasing pressure of search operations by the police in Canada, their most important foreign base, the members of the LTTE procuring weapons have in recent years switched to European finance centres, mainly Switzerland and Germany. The terror expert Rohan Gunaratne from the Scottish University of St. Andrews has already revealed two major transactions with arms which involved the accounts of LTTE front men on (unsuspecting) German banks:
60 tonnes of explosive of the type TNT and RDX, which the rebels had acquired from the Ukrainian producer Rubezone Chemical Plant at the end of 1994, were paid from an account of the Citibank in Mainz. The owner of the account was Tharmalingam S. Kumaran, aged 42, who is the logistics leader of the Tamil Tigers. He had several false identities and was being searched on an international scale.
In 1995, the LTTE was not as lucky with a money transfer from Germany to the Bulgarian Bank. 400,000 dollars which were going to be used for the purchase of weapons had been remitted by the former financial leader of the LTTE, Perumparathan. Shortly after the transfer he was killed. Since then, the money has been tied up in Bulgaria.
According to chemical analyses, the ten tonnes of explosives with which Tamil terrorists attacked the Central Bank in Colombo on 31 January 1996, killing 91 people and wounding 1400, consisted of Ukrainian TNT by Rubezone.
Whether the recent terror bomb had been built with TNT which was financed over a German account, remains to be shown. Of the originally 60 tonnes, a lot should be left over still.
Gunnar Heesch/Hans-Dieter Gotz
Members of the "Welt Tamilen Verein" demonstrate for peace, liberty and their own National State. The Tamils living abroad have to pay a "liberation tax" for the civil war in Sri Lanka.
Bomb attack in the capital of Sri Lanka. A car bomb of the Tamil Tigers destroyed the luxury hotel "Galadari" where American military advisers of the Government resided. 18 people killed.
Terror-kids: Most "Tiger"-soldiers are very young.
German accounts: The "Tigers" paid 60 tonnes of Ukrainian explosive from an account at the Citibank in Mainz.
Civil war in paradise.
Since 1983, the ethnic conflict on the holiday island of Sri Lanka has claimed about 50,000 victims.
-The aims of the Tamils
Since the British colony gained independence in 1948, the tensions between the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority (about 20%) have increased. The Tamils demand 40 per cent of the island for their own State of Tamil Elam.
Tamil regions in the north and east with the capital of Jaffna.
The Sinhalese are living in the south west around Colombo.
Photo: Rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.
Terror attack: a car bomb in front of the Central Bank in Colombo on 31 January, 1996 killed 91 people.
- Attacks by the Sinhalese
After actions of oppression in the 1970s and the destruction of their national library in Jaffna, the Tamil minority started the war against the Government in 1983.
- Children to the front
14 years of war have bled the Tamil Tigers white. Therefore, a lot of their 10,000 fighters are still children, especially girls.