THE LTTE RESPONSE
The Ilmenite mineral sands of Pulmoddai are one of the principal natural resources found within the limits of Tamil Eelam.
What rightfully belongs to the region is being systematically plundered by the Sinhala government to sell abroad at a high price. The proceeds are being used to purchase arms and ammunition for the destruction of the Tamil people.
This injustice cannot be permitted to continue.
Under the above circumstances we were forced to attack and destroy the cargo ship, which was loading the said Ilmenite mineral sands. What we did should not be construed as an act of hostility directed towards any particular trade or shipping organisation. Neither should it be inferred as an act prejudicial to international trade or shipping.
We undertook the confrontation to prevent the removal and sale of our resources and to beat the war strategy of the Sri Lankan government. The fact of our having attacked and damaged another ship in the same area loading the same mineral sands on a previous occasion is well known to the world at large. The Sri Lankan government did not heed our warning. On the contrary, it had continued the practice with military protection.
Commandos were placed on board the cargo ship and naval fast attack crafts and Dvora gunboats were on the sea surrounding the said cargo ship. We broke through this cordon and boarded the cargo ship. Some foreign and local shipping hands died in the ensuing firefight.
We deeply regret that these lives were lost in this manner.
A war rages on the sea and on the land. The robbery of our natural resources by the relentless enemy cannot be permitted. We are unavoidably compelled to take certain protective measures for the safety and well-being of our land and of our nation.
|Hong Kong Editorial