Colombo Telegraph

WikiLeaks: Rajapaksas use a group called the "Lion Cubs" to abductions and dispose bodies at sea

By Colombo Telegraph –

“Samaraweera confirmed for the first time that special cells have been established within military intelligence to abduct LTTE sympathizers.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

“Samaraweera confirmed that the Government uses a group called the “Lion Cubs” to engage in these extrajudicial activities. It is widely rumored in Sri Lanka that Army Commander Fonseka, with the knowledge and approval of Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, has set up special cells within military intelligence to go after suspected LTTE cadres and sympathizers in Colombo, Jaffna and other places.” US Embassy further wrote.

Army Commander Fonseka, with the knowledge and approval of Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, has set up special cells within military intelligence to go after suspected LTTE cadres and sympathizers in Colombo, Jaffna and other places.

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database. The cable is classified as “SECRET” and recounts details of a meeting US Ambassador to Colombo has had with then Sri Lankan government MP , the SLFP Treasurer and Leader and District Organizer of Matara District Mangala Samaraweera on February 26, 2007. The cable was written on February 28, 2007 by the US Ambassador to Colombo, Robert O. Blake.

Under the subject “SRI LANKA:EX-FOREIGN MINISTER COMPLAINS OF HARASSMENT BY GOVERNMENT” ambassador Blake wrote “Ambassador commented that the President and the Defense Secretary reportedly believe that their military strategy, including abductions and harassment of suspected LTTE sympathizers, is working to make Colombo more secure and to degrade LTTE networks. Samaraweera confirmed that the Government uses a group called the ‘Lion Cubs’ to engage in these extrajudicial activities. It is widely rumored in Sri Lanka that Army Commander Fonseka, with the knowledge and approval of Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, has set up special cells within military intelligence to go after suspected LTTE cadres and sympathizers in Colombo, Jaffna and other places. We have also heard reports of a similar shadowy group called the ‘Hambantota Cats.’ The recently-appointed Cabinet Minister for Environment has publicly called for the use of extralegal means to root out LTTE sympathizers. Samaraweera lent credibility to these reports by relating grisly details about the methods these groups use to dispose of the bodies of their victims at sea.”

Below we give the relevant part of the cable;

VZCZCXRO0109
OO RUEHBI RUEHLMC
DE RUEHLM #0337/01 0591217
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 281217Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5538
INFO RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN PRIORITY 0245
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 9929
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 6889
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 4962
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3572
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 0694
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 3660
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 2740
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 7461
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 5176
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 1847
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION PRIORITY
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 COLOMBO 000337

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INS
MCC FOR S GROFF, D NASSIRY, E BURKE AND F REID

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/28/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER PHUM MOPS CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA:EX-FOREIGN MINISTER COMPLAINS OF
HARASSMENT BY GOVERNMENT

REF: A) COLOMBO 324 B) COLOMBO 292 C) COLOMBO 264 D)

     COLOMBO 263 E) COLOMBO 230 F) COLOMBO 186
     G) COLOMBO 170

Classified By: Ambassador Robert O. Blake, Jr., for reasons 1.4(b, d).
9.  (S) Ambassador commented that the President and the
Defense Secretary reportedly believe that their military
strategy, including abductions and harassment of suspected
LTTE sympathizers, is working to make Colombo more secure and
to degrade LTTE networks.  Samaraweera confirmed that the
Government uses a group called the "Lion Cubs" to engage in
these extrajudicial activities.  It is widely rumored in Sri
Lanka that Army Commander Fonseka, with the knowledge and
approval of Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, has set up
special cells within military intelligence to go after
suspected LTTE cadres and sympathizers in Colombo, Jaffna and

COLOMBO 00000337  003 OF 003

other places.  We have also heard reports of a similar
shadowy group called the "Hambantota Cats."  The
recently-appointed Cabinet Minister for Environment has
publicly called for the use of extralegal means to root out
LTTE sympathizers.  Samaraweera lent credibility to these
reports by relating grisly details about the methods these
groups use to dispose of the bodies of their victims at sea.
BLAKE

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