U.S. Department of State Country Reports on Terrorism 2004 - Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka supports the global war on terror and continues to demonstrate a strong commitment to combating terrorism. The Sri Lankan Government has cooperated with US efforts to track terrorist financing, although no assets have been identified in Sri Lanka to date. The United States has worked with the Government of Sri Lanka to develop anti-money laundering legislation, develop a Sri Lankan financial intelligence unit, and provide training for relevant Government agencies and the banking sector. Sri Lankan police provided investigative assistance in response to US requests.

The 2002 ceasefire between the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, continued to hold despite lack of progress in resuming the negotiations broken off by the LTTE in April 2003. The Sri Lankan Army remains deployed across the country for counter-insur-gency purposes. The paramilitary Special Task Force police (STF) is deployed in the east.

Numerous violations of the ceasefire agreement were reportedly committed, primarily by the LTTE, during the year. Fighting broke out between a dissident LTTE faction, led by eastern military commander Karuna, and the mainstream LTTE in March, leading initially to the deaths of at least 120 LTTE cadres and civilians in the east. Following the split, the LTTE began a campaign of targeted assassinations against political opponents, members of the Karuna faction, and suspected Sri Lankan Army informants, killing at least another 80 individuals during the year. In addition, at least 26 members of the mainstream LTTE were killed by suspected Karuna sympathizers, while six members of the Sri Lankan security forces were killed in isolated incidents by suspected LTTE terrorists. On July 7, a suspected LTTE suicide bomber detonated herself while being questioned inside a Colombo police station, killing herself and four policemen. Her intended target was believed to be the Minister of Hindu Affairs, a Tamil politician opposed to the LTTE.

The renewed violence in Sri Lanka has done much to dissipate the cautious optimism that surrounded the process last year. In September, State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism Cofer Black affirmed that the United States would maintain the designation of the LTTE as a Foreign Terrorist Organization until it unequivocally renounces terrorism in both word and deed.


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