Tiger arms ship originated in Indonesia, more on the way: Sri Lanka

From left: Dr. Fernando Im, Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, The World Bank, Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. W A Wijewardana, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof. Indralal de Silva, Former (Chair) of Demography, University of Colombo, Prof. Amala de Silva, Department of Economics, University of Colombo at the panel discussion on "Demographic Change in Sri Lanka" moderated by Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

COLOMBO, Sept 19, 2006 (AFP) – A ship suspected of ferrying weapons to Tamil rebels that was sunk by the Sri Lankan military originated in Indonesia and more vessels may be on the way, a government minister said Tuesday.

The ship was sunk Sunday off Sri Lanka’s east coast by naval ships and aircraft after a tip-off from a neighboring country, defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said, without elaborating.

“We know that the ship originated from a port in Indonesia and there could be at least two other similar ships,” Rambukwella said. “We are on the look-out and obviously we had good information from a friendly country.”

Rambukwella said the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were probably trying to smuggle in artillery and anti-aircraft missiles after suffering a string of setbacks in recent clashes with the military in the north and east.

There has been an upsurge in violence in the decades-old ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka with more than 1,500 people killed since December in tit-for-tat killings, despite a ceasefire in place since 2002.

Fighting has been particularly intense around the Trincomalee district, home to a major airbase and naval port, and in the northern peninsula of Jaffna,