Colombo: Sri Lanka must strengthen its
intelligence-gathering to stop Tamil Tiger rebels regrouping
abroad a year after they were defeated, a top defence official
said on Thursday.
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, who is President
Mahinda Rajapakse`s younger brother, said Tiger sympathisers
outside the country were trying to revive the Tamil separatist
"The security forces, police and intelligence services
must take certain steps to ensure that terrorism does not
raise its head again in this country," he said.
"Our intelligence networks have to be developed and
intelligence gathering enhanced."
He said the navy must also strengthen its coastal patrols
to ensure weapons were not smuggled in by sea. At the height
of their power, the Tigers had both air and sea capability,
and controlled a third of the island.
Gotabhaya said although the Tigers had not carried out
any attacks since the group`s leadership was wiped out a year
ago this week, the pro-rebel lobby abroad was still active.
"The motive of these international groups remain the same
as that of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam)," he
said in a statement marking the first anniversary of the
crushing of the guerrillas after 37 years of violence.
Sri Lanka`s ethnic conflict was estimated to have claimed
up to 100,000 lives, according to the United Nations, which
also said that about 7,000 civilians perished in the final
phase of fighting last year.
Sri Lanka is still under a state of emergency which was
first imposed in 1983 to deal with Tamil rebels. However, some
of the provisions of the tough law were eased earlier this
The government is facing increasing international
pressure to probe alleged war crimes, but Colombo has said
that no civilian was killed by its security forces.