By Jamila Najmuddin
The government has rejected reports that the Pakistan based militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba was setting up operations in Sri Lanka with government Minister Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan saying there was no evidence to prove that the group was in the island.
Minister Muralitharan told Daily Mirror online that the government had not received any complaints of armed groups operating in the island after the defeat of the LTTE and had no evidence of the Lashkar-Toiba cadres being present in any parts of the island. “This is not true. The Lashkar-e-Toiba was never in the island. If they were we would have received some complaints or reports,” Minister Muralitharan said.
The TMVP, who is currently controlling the eastern province, also rejected reports stating that the Pakistani based militants were operating in the island. “A few months ago we read some reports that the Lashkar-e-Toiba may be in the eastern part of the island. But this is not true. There are no armed groups here,” TMVP Spokesperson Azath Maulana said.
A top US military official says the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba militant group, predominately a threat to India, is fast expanding operations to other South Asian countries including Sri Lanka.
According to a PTI report Admiral Robert Willard, Commander of the US Pacific Command in his testimony before the US Senate Armed Services Committee last week has said that that the group is expanding in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives.
"Right now our concern is the movement of Lashkar-e-Toiba, the terrorist group that emanates from Pakistan that was responsible for the Mumbai attacks in India, and specifically their positioning in Bangladesh and Nepal, the Maldives and Sri Lanka," Willard said in response to a question from Senator George Lemieux. (Daily Mirror online)