Jungle Telegraph

18th February 2001

By Alia

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In the dark

Politician turned diplomat and now Sri Lanka's High Commissioner in United Kingdom, Mangala Moonesinghe, cast diplomacy aside to take on a high ranking intelligence official last week.

The occasion was a meeting of Sri Lankan heads of mission in the Western hemisphere at the Foreign Ministry in Colombo. Bosses of various State intelligence agencies were among those invited for the meeting, which was intended to update the envoys with current political and security developments.

The intelligence boss of a state agency dealing with matters external was waxing eloquent on LTTE activities abroad when the able diplomat intervened to ask whether he (the boss) was aware of a particular front organisation of the guerrillas operating in the UK.

The boss went on with his speech and was trying repeatedly to parry the question. An angry Mr. Moonesinghe went to the point of being somewhat undiplomatic to say "..tell me whether you know it or not. Say yes or no…"

The boss had to bow down. His answer ? It was a simple "no."

But the organisation in question has been in existence in the UK for well over 15 years. It took a High Commissioner to tell that to an intelligence chief.

Probe on TV show

A high profile live programme by a State run TV institution has become the subject of a probe by intelligence sleuths.

Among other things, questions were posed by callers. It now turns out that two of them raised questions in respect of military procurements. One had come from an unsuccessful tenderer who accused an Army officer by name for the award being made to another party.

The second phone call had originated from the telephone number of a one time senior officer who was forced to retire. Insiders say the sleuths had tracked down details of both instances and would make their report next week.

Tiger ruse?

Violating its own uni-lateral declaration of a cease-fire, the LTTE fired five rounds of mortars on Thursday at Ariyalai wounding three policemen.

The LTTE gave up Ariyalai only last month and police were manning defence lines there.

Intelligence sources are now investigating whether the mortar fire was to give cover to an LTTE group landing in Ariyalai after crossing the Jaffna lagoon at Sangupiddy (Pooneryn).

There were reports the guerrillas made the crossing to retrieve a cache of weapons they had buried before making a hasty retreat.

Tiger ruse?

Security in the City and suburbs have been intensified following rumours that Tiger guerrillas may trigger off a surprise incident.

This is in the backdrop of reports that the UK Government will impose a ban on them tomorrow.

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