Sri Lanka Tiger airforce a threat to South Asia: president

March 27, 2007 (AFP) – The emergence of the Tamil Tigers as the world’s first guerrilla outfit with its own planes could be a threat to South Asian security, Sri Lanka’s president said Tuesday.

The rebels on Monday successfully flew over the island’s main military airbase and escaped unscathed after dropping several bombs.

“The LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) using combat aircraft is not only a problem for us. It is a threat to other nations too,” President Mahinda Rajapakse was quoted as saying by his office.

Rajapakse has also ordered an investigation into the major security lapses that allowed the attack — which has seriously embarrassed the island’s defence establishment — to take place even though the planes were spotted on radar.

“Ours is not the only country facing a terrorist threat. At a time when India, Indonesia and several other countries face this problem, it is significant that the LTTE has acquired an air capability,” the president said.

Military analysts say the Tigers, who are known to possess at least two Czech-built Zlin-143 single-engine four-seater aircraft and an airfield, could be the world’s first rebel outfit to use its own planes in a