Tigers Still Getting Arms From Cambodia: Report Tamil Tigers

Cambodia remains a significant source of weapons for Sri Lanka’s separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, according to a new report by the international security magazine Jane’s Intelligence Review.

Asked about the report July 22, Interior Ministry spokesman Lieute­nant General Khieu Sopheak said that some weapons may still leak out of Cambodia, but that if such smuggling is occurring, it is likely not large scale. He also said that the government has made every effort to shut down the illegal weapons trade.

Jane’s Intelligence Review made its claim in an article published on its Web site July 19.

“Cambodia is one of the most significant single sources of weapons for the insurgent group,” the report stated, adding that the Tigers’ weapons also come from elsewhere in Southeast Asia, as well as North Korea, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Cyprus, Greece, Turkey and the Ukraine.

The report did not name its sources.

Khieu Sopheak said the Interior Ministry believes “there could be some bad individuals” involved in smuggling weapons, adding: “We would be happy to get information to lead us to the offenders.”

Khieu Sopheak said Sri Lankan officials presented evidence of arms smuggling from Cambodia several years ago, but that Sri Lanka had since praised Cambodia’s anti-smuggling efforts. Cambodia, he noted, chairs Asean’s anti-weapons smuggling committee.

“We have de­stroyed about 230,000 weapons in the Flames of Peace campaign,” he said.

“We are experienced victims of weapons, so we don’t want people of other countries to experience this crisis,” he added.

Late last year, Prime Minister Hun Sen assured Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wikre­manayaka that the Cambodian government would ensure that the Tamil Tigers did not receive any arms smuggled from Cam­bo­dia.

Hun Sen also said at the time that although weapons from Cambodia had fuelled the Ta­mil Tigers in the past, weapon smuggling is no longer a concern, Infor­mation Minister and government spokesman Khieu Kan­harith said.

In December, Major General JJPST Liyanage, of the Sri Lankan Army, was posted in Cambodia to work on intelligence issues. The Tamil Tigers have been waging a violent secessionist campaign in Sri Lanka since the 1970s, and have been sanctioned as a terrorist organization by dozens of countries.

, including the US, Britain, the Euro­pean Union and India.

The Sri Lankan consulate for Cambodia in Bangkok did not return requests for comment Sun­day.

 

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