Sunday, June 22, 2008

Italian newspapers reveal scope of anti-LTTE operation

A clandestine network of the LTTE was collecting money from their fellow countrymen resident in Italy to be destined to the subversive group. Those who refused to pay a certain amount every month risked retaliations against their family members in Sri Lanka, Italian newspapers reported on the arrest of 33 LTTE terrorists in that country. The newspapers La Repubblica, Il Corrierr della Sera and Il Massaggero reported extensively on this massive operation conducted throughout Italy.

The report in the La Repubblica: "This is a distant war on which the investigators of the Special Police of Naples coordinated by the Anti-Terrorist Department of the Law Courts have focused their attention. The secrets of the mechanism of financing this war were kept by unsuspected immigrants, all with a regular stay permit and who have been living are working as domestics in Italy for many years.

Thirty Sri Lankan citizens of the Tamil ethnic group have been arrested with the accusation of association finalised to terrorism and extortion.

The operation took place in Naples, Rome, Palermo, Genoa, Bologna, Reggio Emilia, Mantova and Biella. The persons under investigations are accused to be members of the LTTE, the terrorist organisation that has caused so much bloodshed in Sri Lanka during the last 25 years and has provoked the death of over 8,000 civilians. In one year over Euro 3.5 million have been collected to be destined to the Tigers, often by blackmail.

The investigation has been carried out with thousands of telephone tappings and this with the new law, as Public Prosecutor Rosario Cantelmo says, "would not have been possible" since the investigators, as soon as a name came out in the course of a conversation immediately put under control also the telephone line of the latter, which would have been prohibited under the new law.

The investigation began in September 2006 when three Sri Lankans, of the Sinhalese ethnic group made an entry to the police stating that they were threatened by fellow countrymen on the eve of a demonstration against Tamil separatism organised in Naples.

The Chief of Digos, the Special Police, Antonio Sbordone and the Anti Terrorist Chief Inspector Dr. Lorenzo Manso initiated investigations that led to the arrests. The network had divided the territory in five areas: Biella, Genoa, Reggio Emilia, Naples and Palermo.

In Biella resided the "Coordinator for the Centre-North" while the "Coordinator for the South" resided in Palermo.

The primary goal was the collection of money: "You must force them, you must scare the people," persons under investigation says during a telephone conversation who then adds: "We must keep them in our fist, they are all our hostages, they must work at all costs for the organisation."

The group has its own 'counter intelligence' that filed all the Tamils living in Italy. The Tigers act in the same way also in other European countries. The mysterious chief who kept all the contacts resides in Zurich and in the telephone tappings he is referred to as 'The Big Man'. The arrests will all be validated in the next 24 hours.

Forty five days ago the law courts had asked for a 'custody ordinance' but the worsening of the situation in Sri Lanka, where just during this month there have been three terrorist attacks with 10 of victims, has suggested to intervene immediately.

The Minister of Interior, Roberto Maroni made his compliments to the investigators, whose chief, Sbordone reminded that the great majority of Sri Lankans in Italy is composed by honest and hard working persons.

Courtesy : Daily News

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