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Jungle Telegraph

28th March 1999

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Ltte & pkk

A self confessed PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) bomber dropped a bombshell in October, 1997, when he told the London Observer that his party had received "Stinger" missiles from Greece and some were sold to the LTTE. The man was identified as Sado Hazar. Now comes a report, which if correct, throws more light on possible PKK links with LTTE. One of Turkey's leading newspapers, Istanbul Hurriyet, has published detailed excerpts of what PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan, told State Security Court prosecutors on his party's links with Greece during testimony on Imrali island.

The PKK leader who was fleeing from one country to another was arrested in Kenya early this year by Turkish Special Forces.

Ocalan said "Our relationships with Greece began in 1998. That year I established contact with Kostas Baduvas (former Interior Minister) and Naksasis (then a Captain who retired with the rank of Admiral). "The official vendor of M-16 rifles in Greece is a businessman called Vilasis. He is also a friend of Yugoslav President, Slobodan Milosevic.

"When he first told us that he could sell us Igla (SA 14) and Strella (SA 7) rockets, which the Serbs have in their arsenal, we did not believe him. However, one day, when we were sitting in the offices of Panayiotis Sgourdhis, the Deputy Speaker of Greek Parliament, together with Naksakis and Vilasis, we began to discuss the issue seriously. After the meeting, Vilasis and Naksakis, travelled to Serbia. Naksakis provided financing worth millions of dollars. Of course he received this from the state.

"The rockets were shipped as "scrap iron" in the name of a Greek Cypriot businessman Aristo, who has a steel rolling mill in the Greek Cypriot sector. They were taken from the port of Latakia in Syria and delivered to our men in Iraq.

"Sgouridhis, Naksakis, and his close friend, Foreign Minister Panagalos, wanted us to shoot down at least one Turkish Armed Forces helicopter. At that time the Turkish Armed Forces began a large operation in northern Iraq. Soon, news arrived that a helicopter had been downed with one of these missiles." The question is whether Ocalan had said all this under duress. Otherwise, there is food for thought for Sri Lanka's intelligence community.

Smoking out

Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Srilal Weerasooriya, is to call in the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to probe a multi million rupee fraud in imported cigarettes.

One case under investigation (among others) is said to involve an officer of a non combatant arm.

Insiders say the amount involved, according to investigations conducted so far, exceeds Rs 33 million.

They are said to be proceeds from unauthorised sale of well known brands of imported cigarettes. Stocks which are seized by Customs are issued free of charge to the security forces. The cigarettes are alleged to have been siphoned off to the blackmarket. CCMP (Ceylon Corps Military Police) personnel are now busy obtaining more details from Customs officials about consignments released.

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