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Champoor Tamils’ security, livelihood threatened by US military partnership with genocidal Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Thursday, 21 September 2017, 22:14 GMT]
The occupying navy of genocidal Sri Lanka has put up 25 new coastal sentry posts, 75 meters at distance from each other along the coast of Champoor in Trincomalee. The naval build up taking place since August 2017 has raised security concerns among the native Eezham Tamil fishermen, who are also caught up in anxiety over fishing restrictions occurring again. The fortification has also come amidst increased reports of surveillance and harassment on resettled Champoor Tamils in the recent times. The military installations in Champoor were being beefed up as foreign trainers, particularly those from the Seventh Fleet of the US Navy based in Japan and South-Korea, use to visit Trincomalee to train the marine corps of genocidal Sri Lanka, informed sources in the East port city said.

The SL navy personnel putting up the posts with sandbags have told the residents that a new 4-story building of the recently launched ‘Marine Battalion’ within the SL Navy base ‘SLNS Vidura’ was the main reason for the latest fortification.

In the beginning of September, the SL Navy sailors were telling the people that the check posts and bunds were only being put up in the run up to a concluding training event on 9th September.

But, the SLN continued to put up new positions also after that date, the people say. When the people asked about the check posts, the Sinhala sailors said the event was postponed to 14 September. But, the fortifications now seem to be permanent, the fishermen said.

The joint exercises taking place between the occupying Sinhala military and foreign powers in the occupied country of Eezham Tamils are being used by the genocidal state of Sri Lanka to justify its Sinhala militarization of Tamil homeland, civil sources in Trincomalee said.

Tamil-speaking Muslims in Trincomalee have also expressed similar concerns.

The joint exercises that took place in naval dockyard in the past seem to be extended to Champoor in the future with foreign military personnel visiting and staying at the newly constructed installation of Marine training and administration, the sources further said adding that unabated militarization is going to be a major problem affecting the livelihood of the native Eezham Tamils in Champoor.

US Marines in Trincomalee with SL military
US Marine Sgt. Anthony Sandusky, a squad leader with Alpha Co., Battalion Landing Team 1st Bn., 4th Marines, 11th Marines Expeditionary Unit, high-fives a ‘Sri Lankan’ Marine as he runs by during physical training as part of a TSC training at Trincomalee on Nov. 24, 2016. Around 325 US Marines and Sailors and 175 SL Navy sailors took part in the TSC engagement. [U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Zachery Laning/Released. Courtesy of Defence Video & Imagery Distribution System website: www.dvidshub.net]

In November 2016, U.S. Marines and Sailors of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (11th MEU), known as “"Pride of the Pacific", visited Trincomalee for a ‘Theater Security Cooperation’ training exercise with the SL Marine Corps.

Following the exercise, U.S. Pacific Command Commander Navy Adm. Harry Harris Jr. went on record stating that the joint training with the U.S. Marines was showing that ‘Sri Lanka’ was emerging as a "significant contributor" to security of the "maritime superhighways" of the region.

Harris was the first four-star rank officer to visit the island in a decade. He also attended the so-called ‘Galle Dialogue’ conference held in December 2016.

The US training engagement in Trincomalee seems to be mainly focused on amphibious naval operations, including basic defensive tactics, combat life-saving skills, explosive ordnance disposal, aircraft familiarization, small boat and convoy operations, and small unit leadership classes.

The joint military programme in November also concentrated on NCO (Noncommissioned Officers) Leadership training.

US Marines in Trincomalee with SL military
Maritime Raid Force Marines with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit demonstrate how to conduct visit, board, search, and seizure of a vessel for Sri Lankan Navy Special Boat Squadron Sailors during a Theater Security Cooperation training event at Sri Lanka Naval Base, Trincomalee, Nov. 24, 2016. [Photo By: US Gunnery Sgt. Robert Brown. Courtesy of US Marines Official Website, www.marines.mil. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement]

"Any time we can work and train with partner and allied militaries, it lays a foundation for future cooperation," Capt. Darren Glaser, a US commanding officer at the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset, was quoted as saying in a write-up of U.S. 7th Fleet’s official website on 22 November 2016.

“These engagements build the relationships and trust needed for cooperative responses to regional crises,” Glaser further said after the joint exercise at Trincomalee.

Before coming to Trincomalee the 11th MEU had carried out exercises ‘Keen Sword’ with Japan and ‘Tiger Strike’ with Malaysia.

The 11th MEU, which is part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, is operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet’s area of responsibility in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Claiming to be a “flexible force which can rapidly respond to contingencies and crises within a region,” it is a self-contained and self-sustained task force with ships, aircraft, troops, and logistical equipment.

The SL Navy didn’t have a marine corps during the times of the war with the LTTE.

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External Links:
US Marine Corps website: Newly formed Sri Lankan marine corps gets 241 years of experience in under a week



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