British military team visits Jaffna

[TamilNet, Thursday, 09 October 2003, 15:49 GMT]
A team of British military officers and defence specialists visited Jaffna Thursday. The team met the Bishop and the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA) of Jaffna and discussed the situation in the peninsula and the stand of the Liberation Tigers on several issues, including an Interim Administration for the Northeast, sources said.

Until the late eighties, the British army was the chief foreign mentor of the Sri Lankan armed forces.

The British were briefed on the security situation in Jaffna by Sri Lankan armed forces brass in the peninsula, military sources in the northern town said. Some of the officers in the team were from the Sandhurst Royal Military Academy, according to them.

During discussions with the CHA, the British military officers queried whether LTTE would return to the democratic path if an interim administration were established and recognise other Tamil groups in the northeast.

“We told them that the Tigers are already part of the democratic process here and that the other Tamil groups have opened offices here and that the LTTE is having discussions with them,” said Mr. C. V. K Sivagnanam, a senior official of the CHA.

CHA officials who met the British military team Thursday took up the question of UK’s ban on the LTTE.

“We also explained to them the problems faced by the people of Jaffna due to the high security zones,” a CHA official said.

Sri Lankan armed forces operations against the LTTE in the eighties and early nineties were in the main based on British counter insurgency doctrine honed in Malaya, Ireland, Oman, Nigeria, etc.

Tamil human rights activists say mass displacements, indiscriminate arrests, internment, massacres, harassment, bans on cultivation, fishing etc., in the northeast were consequences of the doctrine.

Nevertheless, the British-inculcated counter insurgency flopped in the northeast due to counter doctrine and practice developed by the Liberation Tigers in the nineties, a military analyst said.

 

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