LTTE planned air strike on Colombo from Chennai: Lankan Prez

New York / Chennai: In a sensational claim, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has said LTTE militants had planned to attack Colombo with an aircraft flying from Chennai in 2009.

Addressing the Sri Lankan community in New York where he spoke at the UN General Assembly, he said, “No one knew it better than me.”

Sirisena was the acting defence minister during the last two weeks of the civil war with the LTTE in May, 2009, when the rebels were eventually defeated.

Maithripala Sirisena

“The former President was away, the former Prime Minister was away. There was no defence ministry Secretary and Army Commander in the country at the time,” Sirisena said, adding that all senior leaders were out of the country fearing an LTTE air raid.

“The Tamil Tigers were going to operate an aircraft from Chennai or some other jungle area to bomb and destroy targets in Colombo,” the President said.

Sirisena said it was a well-guarded secret that all senior leaders were out of the country fearing an LTTE air raid. “Even I did not stay in Colombo. I was at several locations outside Colombo in case the Tigers attacked the capital city,” he said.

The LTTE had carried out two air raids in the capital in 2007 and 2009.

Col R Hariharan, a retired military intelligence officer, reportedly dubbed the Sri Lankan President’s claim as fiction and said Chennai airport was fully secured and the Q branch of the Tamilnadu police was on high alert. “They would have known had the LTTE hatched such a plan,” he said.

Former Union Minister and DMK principal secretary T R Baalu, was quoted as saying: “It is a baseless charge that either the Centre or the State government would have allowed our territory to be used to attack any other country. There were no such plan of the LTTE, a banned organisation. It is totally false.” The DMK was in power in 2009.

Sri Lanka expert Prof P S Suryanarayana said, “It is wild imagination that the LTTE had plans to attack Colombo from Chennai.”


NT Bureau