Top soldier turned diplomat says Lanka comprehends US grief



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By Shamindra Ferdinando


Having experienced terrorism for three decades, Sri Lanka could comprehend America’s grief in the wake of crude bomb attacks directed at those watching the Boston marathon, Sri Lanka’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Maj. Gen. Shavendra Silva, told The Island yesterday.


Commenting on initial media reports pertaining to investigations into the blasts, Maj. Gen. Silva said that two improvised explosive devices (IED) triggered with basic timers had contained black powder, nails and ball bearings. The LTTE had mastered the use of nuts and bolts in all types of IEDs directed at both military and civilian targets at the onset on the eelam conflict way back in early 80s, the former General Officer Commanding (GOC) of 58 Division, Maj. Gen. Silva said.


The Gajaba Regiment veteran holds ambassadorial rank.


Ambassador Silva is one of the senior officers accused of committing atrocities during eelam war IV, a charge vehemently denied by the government.


Maj. Gen. Silva said that the media reports which dealt with the bombs reminded him of early IEDs produced by the LTTE and several other terrorist groups fighting the military. Responding to a query, Ambassador Silva said that over the years the LTTE had perfected the technique. "We have had experienced horrors of IEDs for three decades. They used loads of nuts and bolts in IEDs to  cause maximum damage to targeted troops as well as civilians. An examination of LTTE operations can help those now facing threat of crude bombs," ambassador Silva said.


Although the circumstances under which the LTTE had assassinated the then Chief Government Whip, Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, in April 2008 and still unknown terrorists who targeted the Boston marathon were vastly different, such attacks were a grim reminder of interested parties taking advantage of lax security, Maj. Gen. Silva said. Referring to media reports, the officer pointed out that the IEDs (pressure cookers filled with nails and ball bearings) had been concealed in bags or backpacks and left close to the finishing line.


Maj. Gen. Silva admitted that pressure cookers had never been used by the LTTE, though ingredients used in the bomb making were similar to that of the LTTE.


Rudimentary explosive devices made from pressure cookers have been widely used in attacks in Afghanistan, India, Nepal and Pakistan, all countries where the cooking device is common, according to a Department of Homeland Security warning notice issued in 2010. 


Maj. Gen. Silva recollected a statement the BBC once attributed to the then Sea Tiger leader Soosai that those responsible for the suicide attack on guided missile destroyer USS Cole in Oct 2000 had followed Sea Tiger tactics used against the Sri Lanka Navy.


The LTTE also introduced the suicide vest, the Maj. Gen said, recalling how Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik, too, justified the massacring of 77 men, women and children on the basis of the LTTE having successfully adopted similar tactics to drive out the Muslim community from the Northern Province.


Maj. Gen Silva said that terrorists whatever their causes should never be allowed to succeed or encouraged under any circumstances.  


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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