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'LTTE’s annual income between $200-300 mn'

The number of cadres of the separatist LTTE might have been reduced to around 5000 but there is one front that they are unlikely to complain about — money. Sutirtho Patranobis reports.

world Updated: Aug 12, 2008 23:09 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

The number of cadres of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) might have been reduced to around 5000 but there is one front that they are unlikely to complain about — money.

The prestigious Jane’s Intelligence Report said in its August issue that the LTTE's annual income is “between $200-300 million making it the second biggest income generating terrorist organisation in the world.”

It is second only to the Revolutionary Armed Group of Colombia, which sources its funds from the vast sales of cocaine.

For the LTTE, the source of the income — both legal and illegal — is perhaps “from shipping to drugs and extortion by a network of professional managers — both Tamils and others — across a string of countries and... also comes from purported Tamil Charities, the funds of which are allegedly transferred for its coffers,'” the report said, adding that many Tamil charities have become an effective way of transferring money to the terrorist outfit.

The report added the group has been engaged in a war with waning results since 2006 and its weapons have been smuggled in from South-East Asia and nearby parts of India.

Quoting the Sri Lankan government, the report said large amounts of money raised after the 2004 tsunami found their way to the rebels. “Australian federal government has prosecuted LTTE supporters against the same charge but the LTTE has denied the charge,'” it said.

Jane’s also said the Tamil Tigers freedom to operate overseas was reduced by a global crackdown on militant groups after September 11, 2001 attacks.

“Shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles are almost certainly the most probable item on the wish list, but there will also be small arms and other weapons,'” Christian LeMiere, managing Editor of Jane’s Country Risk was quoted as saying in the report.