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Divisions of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam

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Title: Divisions of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam  
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Subject: Sri Lankan Civil War, Arumaithurai Tharmaletchumi, Casualties of the Sri Lankan Civil War, Eelam National Democratic Liberation Front, Kalmunai massacre
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Divisions of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam

Divisions of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam refers to the military, intelligence and overseas divisions the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Most of these divisions were destroyed during the Eelam War IV, and only parts of the intelligence and financing divisions remain overseas.[1]

Military wing

Charles Anthony brigade

Charles Anthony Brigade was the first conventional fighting formation created by the LTTE, on 10 April 1991.[2] It has remained the main fighting force throughout the rest of the time of LTTE, and has fought major battles including Operation Jayasikurui, Battle of Mullaitivu, Battle of Kilinochchi, Second Battle of Elephant Pass and LTTE's Unceasing Waves (Oyatha Alaigal) I, II, III and IV.[3] The brigade was named after Charles Lucas Anthony alias Seelan, who had been LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran's right-hand man during the early stages of LTTE. Kandiah Balasegaran alias Balraj, Amuthab and Gobith have served as its commanders. Charles Anthony brigade had been completely destroyed during the final days of Sri Lankan Civil War.

Black Tigers

Black Tigers is the LTTE division that carried out suicide attacks in the South and other parts of the country. It consisted of selected cardres from other regiments. The division was formed in July 1987, with the attack carried out by Vallipuram Vasanthan alias Captain Miller, by driving an explosive laden truck into a Sri Lanka Army camp in Nelliady Madhya Maha Vidyalaya, Jaffna, killing himself and 128 soldiers.[4][5] It was the first occasion that a Black Tiger blew up himself. LTTE intelligence wing leader Shanmugalingam Sivashankar alias Pottu Amman headed the outfit from its inception to destruction. According to LTTE, between 5 July 1987 and 20 November 2008, 378 black tigers (274 male and 104 female) had carried out suicide attacks.[6]

Black Tiger wing carried out attacks on various high-profile leaders both inside and outside Sri Lanka.[7] It had successfully targeted 3 world leaders, only insurgent group to do so. That includes assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, the former Prime Minister of India on 21 May 1991,[8][9] assassination of Ranasinghe Premadasa, the President of Sri Lanka on 1 May 1993[10] and failed assassination attempt of Chandrika Kumaratunga, the Sri Lankan President on 18 December 1999, which resulted in the loss of her right eye.[11][12][13]

The slain Black Tiger cardres were highly glorified and their families were given the "Maha Viru family" status. Those cardres were given a chance to have his/her last supper with the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, which was considered a rare honour one would get in the LTTE controlled area. This, in turn motivated LTTE cardres to join the Black Tiger wing.[14]

Sea Tigers

Sea Tigers was the naval wing of LTTE, founded in 1984. Sea Tigers also had a number of small but effective suicide bomber vessels.[15] During its existence, it had sunk at least 29 small inshore patrol boats and one freighter of Sri Lanka Navy.[16] The division was led by Thillaiyampalam Sivanesan alias Soosai, with their main base at Mullaitivu, on the north-eastern coast of Sri Lanka.[17] Sea Tigers' fighting capabilities diminished towards the end of 2008, as Sri Lanka Army captured more of its bases such as Viduthalathivu and Nachchikuda, and Sri Lanka Navy strictly cordoned off the Northern sea.

Air Tigers

Aircraft in LTTE possession[6]
Type of Aircraft Quantity
Micro Light Aircraft 2
ZLIN 143 5
Helicopters 2
Unmanned aerial vehicles 2

Air Tigers was the Aircraft. Its existence had been subject to speculation for many years, but was only revealed after the first attack in March 2007. LTTE credits the formation of the Air Tigers wing to Colonel Shankar, alias Vythialingam Sornalingam. On November 27–28, 1998, Tamilnet reported,[18][19] the LTTE-operated Voice of Tiger radio station had claimed that "Aircraft of the Air Tiger wing of the Liberation Tigers [had] sprinkled flowers over the cemeteries of the slain LTTE cadres in Mulliyawalai," during the annual Heroes Day celebrations. This was not confirmed by the Sri Lanka Air Force but several reports have received that unidentified aircraft had been seen in Mullaitivu sky. In August 11, 2006, quoting unidentified sources in Jaffna, Tamilnet reported[20] that "at least one unidentified aircraft" had flown over the Sri Lankan military base at Palali, firing “rockets” at government forces. However, these aircraft were identified for the first time, only when they carried out an attack on Katunayake Air force base in March 2007. Two Z Lin Z 143 light aircraft had been used for the attack. This was followed by 8 more attacks on military targets. Final one was a suicide air raid targeting Sri Lanka Air Force headquarters in Colombo in February 2009. During the Northern offensive, Sri Lanka Army captured 7 aircraft runways belonged to LTTE.[21]

Imran Pandian regiment

Imran Pandian Regiment was created for the personal security of LTTE supermo, Velupillai Prabhakaran. Viduthalai alias Amuthan alias Gaddafi, Prabhakaran's bodyguard was its leader. All of its members were killed with Prabhakaran in May 2009.

Ratha regiment

Ratha Regiment has been assigned air defence and intelligence gathering roles within the LTTE. It was relatively a new unit within LTTE, created in 2004.[22] Silambarasan, the commander of Ratha Regement was killed in Battle of Aanandapuram, and his deputy Anbu was captured.[23]

Jeyanthan brigade

Jeyanthan Brigade consisted of LTTE fighters from Eastern Province. Its fighters had participated in many conventional battles including Battle of Pooneryn, Operation Jayasikurui, Battle of Mullaitivu, Battle of Kilinochchi and Second Battle of Elephant Pass.[24][25] Brigade was named in the memory of Sampukuddi Pathmanthan alias Jeyanthan. Keerthi, the commander of Jeyanthan Brigade and his deputy, Nagesh were killed in Battle of Aanandapuram.[23]

Kittu artillery brigade

Heavy artillery in LTTE possession[6]
Type of artillery Quantity
152 mm towed gun-howitzer Type 66 9
130 mm towed field gun Type 59-1 12
122 mm gun 2
107 mm rocket artillery 2
Multi-barrel rocket launcher (12-barrel) 1
Multi-barrel rocket launcher (6-barrel) 1

The artillery brigade of LTTE.[26] Its commander Mannivannan was killed in Battle of Aanandapuram.[23] Weapons in possession of Kittu artillery brigade by 2008:

Kutti Sri mortar brigade

The Mortar brigade of LTTE.[26] It had 500+ 82/81 mm Mortar, 150+ 120 mm Mortar and 4 140 mm Mortar weapons in its possession. Gopal, the commander of Kutti Sri Mortar Brigade was killed in Battle of Aanandapuram.[23]

Victor anti-tank regiment

Victor anti-tank regiment was formed in 1995. It had over 350 RPG-7 weapons in its possession.[6] Victor regiment also had a T-55 Main battle tank, captured from Sri Lanka Army in 2001. Army troops re-captured it in west of Putumattalan in April 2009.[27]

Anbarasi regiment

Anbarasi regiment was the anti-aircraft regiment of LTTE. It carried out 4 successful surface-to-air missile attacks on Sri Lanka Air Force passenger flights. Attacked aircraft are: 2 Avro aircraft (On 28 & 29 April 1995), 1 Antonov An-32 (On 22 November 1995) and 1 Mil Mi-17 helicopter (On 22 January 1996). All 4 attacks took place at Palaly Air Force base, killing at least 202 servicemen. Anbarasi regiment had at least 5 IGLA 1 missile launchers and 16+ IGLA 1 (SA 16) missiles in its possession.[6]

Ponnamman mining unit

The mining unit of LTTE. Asmi, the commander of Ponnamman mining unit was captured in Battle of Aanandapuram.[23] Based on the Huamnitarion Demining Organizations Reports, The LTTE Mostly Used there Local products of Mines to protect their Forward Defense Lines and Camps. The LTTE Anti Personnel Mines Are: 1. Jony 95 2. Jony 99 3. Rangan 99 4. Pedal Mine 5. Claypot Mine 6. Illavaluthi 1 (ETM 01) 7. Illavaluthi 11(ETM 02) However they were commonly using after the 1999, Jony 99 and Rangan 99 mines for Anti Personnel. The Rangan 99 and Jony 99 Mines are plastic covered Pressure activating mines. both are containing 90 -110 g C4 Explosive. The Illavaluthi Series of Mines are Electric Tilt Mines.

Pistol gang

LTTE pistol gang is involved in many hit-and-run operations on government agents, security force members, security forces informants, dissidents etc.[28]

Auxiliary forces

These groups were dubbed as Special Task Forces.

Eela Padai

Eela Padai consisted of civilians recruited by LTTE. It had a strength of 5000, who were used as home guards and later, for defensive and offensive purposes. They were on the payroll of LTTE. Members of Eela Padai received a monthly salary of about Rs. 2,500 (USD 25).[29]

Grama Padai

Grama Padai aka Rural Force was an auxiliary force of LTTE, used to assist it in meeting logistics requirements as well as for carrying out defensive operations. It also had a strength of about 5000.[29]

Thunai Padai

Thunai Padai was a Support Force of LTTE.[29]

Womens' wing

LTTE women's wing marching in a parade.

LTTE's women's wing had consisted of two brigades. They engaged in military offensives as well as administrative tasks.

Malathi brigade

One of the two women's military brigades of LTTE. Named after the first woman killed on behalf of LTTE, during operations against the Indian Peace Keeping Force, Malathi. Its commander Vithusha, and her deputy Kamalini were killed during Battle of Aanandapuram in April 2009.[30]

Sothiya brigade

This is the other women's military brigade of LTTE. Named after Sothiya, commander of the first women's unit formed in 1989. She died of meningitis in 1990. Its commander Durga, and her deputy Mohana were killed during Battle of Aanandapuram.[30]

Intelligence wing

Tiger Organization Security Intelligence Service

Tiger Organization Security Intelligence Service aka TOSIS, formed in December 1983, was the intelligence service of LTTE. It was run by Pottu Amman. Kapil Amman served as its deputy leader. TOSIS had been instrumental in all of the attacks of LTTE, especially the Black Tiger suicide attacks. TOSIS had played a crucial role in identifying [31] Most of its cardres were killed in May 2009. Present status in unknown.

Military intelligence

LTTE's military intelligence was separate from TOSIS and was headed by Shanmuganathan Ravishankar alias Charles. He was killed in a Sri Lankan Army Deep Penetration Unit claymore attack in Pallemadu, Mannar in January 2008.[32]

Political wing

LTTE had a separate political wing for civil administrative matters. S. P. Thamilselvan headed this wing until his death in November 2007. After that, Balasingham Nadesan, whom initially was Constable of Sri Lanka Police, headed the wing until his death on 18 May 2009. Political wing had a wide range of departments under its control. Prior to the end of the conflict, it functioned almost like a separate state. However, negotiation with the Sri Lankan government was carried out at almost all the time by Anton Balasingham, who was LTTE's theoretician and chief negotiator, with the inclusion of the head of the political wing, during peace talks. But crucial decisions were taken almost entirely by Balasingham and LTTE leader Prabhakaran.

Tamil Eelam Economic Development Organisation

Tamil Eelam Economic Development Organisation (TEEDOR) oversaw all development and civil activities in the LTTE controlled area. Its areas of concern include education, transport, administrative service, health service, banking, forest conservation, fisheries, industries, revenue collection, tax collection, public utilities, agriculture, irrigation, environment, road development and construction. Its headquarters was situated in [29]

International peace secretariat

The LTTE Peace secretariat, created after the 2002 [33] In a similar move, LTTE put Gopalaswamy Mahendraraja alias Mahattaya, into house arrest and subsequently executed under the charges of leaking secrets to India's Research and Analysis Wing. Mahattaya was the head of People's Front of Liberation Tigers, the Tamil Tigers' political party. However it fell out with the LTTE.

Police force

LTTE created its own police force in 1992. Balasingham Nadesan was its head throughout its existence, although he was promoted as the head of political wing in November 2008.[34] As police chief, Nadesan oversaw the building of new police stations in the East following the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement. LTTE Police Headquarters was situated in Kilinochchi town.

LTTE court

LTTE controlled a separate court system, which looked into civil and criminal cases inside the LTTE controlled area. Main court was situated in the Kilinochchi town.

Eelam bank

"Bank of Tamil Eelam" was LTTE's official bank, which governed under its political wing. It was established in 1994. LTTE controlled 11 branches of this bank throughout the Vanni region. It had even provided loan and credit facilities to the people of north and east Sri Lanka.[35] The bank suspended its activities on 2 January 2009 after Sri Lanka Army captured Kilinochchi, the administrative capital of LTTE controlled region.

Voice of Tigers

Pulikalin Kural aka Voice of Tigers, LTTE's Radio station was established in 1990, in Jaffna. LTTE leader's Mahavir day speech was usually broadcast on Voice of Tigers on 27 November in each year. Its main broadcasting station was attcked by Sri Lanka Air Force on 27 November 2007, while the speech was being broadcast. LTTE claims that it was one of the 23 times SLAF has targeted the station.[36]

Sports division

LTTE sports division was headed by 'Papa'. He was arrested in May 2009 and now working for the State intelligence services.[37]

Global network

Out of the LTTE's divisions, details about its global network are scarcely known. Prominent tasks conducted by this global network include propaganda, fund raising, arms procurement and shipping.At the height of its power, LTTE had 42 offices all over the world. The global network of LTTE is functional in 4 major areas.[38] Departments within the global network include,

KP branch

end-user certificate,[39] and theft of 32,400 rounds of 81 mm mortar ammunition purchased from Tanzania destined for the Sri Lanka Army.[40] In 2002, after the signing of peace deal, some elements within LTTE, allegedly Castro and Thamilselvan brought forward various charges against KP, including corruption, inefficiency, sexual impropriety etc. Since then, KP was steadily marginalised and in 2003, he went into "voluntary" retirement. But in 2008, after a series of military debacles in North and the East, LTTE supermo Prabhakaran requested him to return to the LTTE. KP accepted the request and in January 2009, he was appointed the head of newly created "International relations department".[41] But his appointment did not stop the tide against LTTE, which was defeated in May 2009. In August 2009, a Sri Lankan military intelligence unit, with the collaboration of local authorities, captured Pathmanathan in the Tune Hotel, Downtown Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.[42]

Castro branch

Since 2002, after sidelining KP branch, LTTE relied heavily on International secretariat headed by Veerakathy Manivannam alias Castro for arms shipments and other foreign activities.[41] Castro was based in Kilinochchi, but he had a branch network controlled by him in the foreign countries. Perinpanayagam Sivaparan alias Nediyavan, who acts as the LTTE leader in Norway was appointed by him. Castro died in Sri Lanka Army's final offensive in Vellamullivaikkal, Mullaitivu.[43]

Aiyannah group

Ponniah Anandaraja alias Aiyannah led the LTTE's Aiyannah group, which is responsible for LTTE's connection with North Korean government. Aiyannah, a member of World Tamil Coordinating Committee of USA and later, the accountant of LTTE, had worked at the North Korean embassy in [38]

TV stations

LTTE's global network operated several TV channels in Europe and Australia, named "Tharisanam TV", "Tamil Television Network" (TTN), "Makkal TV" and "Euro TV" as a major propaganda arm. Tharisanm was broadcasting its programmes in connection with companies in France, Israel and Hong Kong. It had used French and Israeli satellites named Globecast and Satlink, for the broadcasting purposes. In 2008, Israel took steps to ban Tharisanam.[44] Makkal TV was aired with the help of the pro-LTTE political party Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) in Chennai. France ceased the broadcasting of Tamil Television Network (TTN) in May 2007.[45] Euro TV also was banned by Italy in May 2008.[46]

International radio

LTTE launched the London based International Broadcasting Corporation, IBC Tamil radio station in 1997. IBC had urged Tamils in the United Kingdom to support pro-LTTE fundraising events organized by White Pigeon and other LTTE front associations.[47]


There has been a wide array of pro-LTTE publications, both digital and print, controlled by the LTTE global network. Most notable websites include TamilNet, Paris based Sankathi and Germany based Pathivu. Paris, London, Canada and Australia based Eelamurazu is one of its many printed media.[41]

See also


  1. ^ Staff writer (December 2009). "The Year That Was : Obama President, LTTE Demolished, Singh Is King". India TV news. Retrieved 2011-07-30. 
  2. ^ "Charles Anthony Brigade retrained". DefenceNet. 2007-02-07. Retrieved 2008-10-08. 
  3. ^ "Charles Anthony Brigade celebrates 15th anniversary of inauguration". Tamilnet. 2006-04-11. Retrieved 2008-10-08. 
  4. ^ Secrets of their success
  5. ^ Suicide bombers feared and revered
  6. ^ a b c d e "Humanitarian Operation - Factual Analysis, July 2006 - May 2009".  
  7. ^ Gambetta, D. (26 May 2005). Making sense of suicide missions. New York:  
  8. ^ "Tamil Tiger 'regret' over Gandhi".  
  9. ^ "We killed Rajiv, confesses LTTE".  
  10. ^ Baker, Mark (2002-09-16). "Hopes high for end to Sri Lanka war".  
  11. ^ "Sri Lanka: In the name of clemency". Front Line. Jan 21, 2000. Retrieved 2011-06-18. 
  12. ^ "Analysis: Questions about the Bomb Blasts". K.T.Rajasingham. Jan 2, 2000. Retrieved 2011-06-18. 
  13. ^ "The Mission of Truth -3". Ministry of Defense, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 2011-06-18. 
  14. ^ "Unmasking of Prabhakaran". Retrieved 10 August 2011. 
  15. ^ mentioning suicide Sea Tiger boats sinking two SLN patrol boats and killing 17 SLN sailors
  16. ^ Article on LTTE from Energypublisher
  17. ^ Article in SAAG.ORG stating that the Sea Tigers main base are in Mullaitivu
  18. ^ Tiger Air Wing participates in celebrations. TamilNet, November 28, 1998.
  19. ^ Tigers confirm Air wing. TamilNet, November 27, 1998.
  20. ^ Tiger aircraft rockets Palaly base, curfew in Jaffna. TamilNet, August 11, 2006.
  21. ^ "LTTE's Final Air Strip Captured-Sri Lanaka". February 2009. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  22. ^ "LTTE deploys ultimate weapon: Black Tigers drive truck bombs to FDL". Retrieved 2011-07-30. 
  23. ^ a b c d e "For This All that Blood was Shed". Srilanka Watch. 13 April 2009. Retrieved 31 July 2011. 
  24. ^ "Army commandos join the battle". DefenceNet. 2007-03-16. Retrieved 2008-12-17. 
  25. ^ "Pirapaharan extols Jeyanthan Brigade on 12th anniversary". Tamilnet. 2005-05-05. Retrieved 2008-12-17. 
  26. ^ a b "UN War Casualty Figure is Made Up of Annihilated Tiger Brigades". Lankaweb. Retrieved 30 July 2011. 
  27. ^ "Army troops recovered LTTE's T-55 Main Battle Tank". Lanka e-News. 9 April 2009. 
  28. ^ "LTTE guns down 'dreaded' informant Plote Mohan". Lankaweb. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  29. ^ a b c d Athas, Iqbal. "Expanding Tiger civil service". Sunday Times. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  30. ^ a b "Tamil". TTnet. Retrieved 30 July 2011. 
  31. ^ Pottu Amman' and the Intelligence Division of the LTTE"'". D.B.S Jeyaraj. Retrieved 2011-07-30. 
  32. ^ "LTTE intelligence chief 'colonel' Charles killed". Express India. January 2008. Retrieved 31 July 2011. 
  33. ^ "Pulidevan under house arrest?".  
  34. ^ "Nadesan to head LTTE political wing". Chennai Online. November 2007. Retrieved 31 July 2011. 
  35. ^ "LTTE operated 11 bank branches in North before its defeat".  
  36. ^ "Pulikalin Kural – Voice of Tigers – Back LIVE on July 5th". July 2009. Retrieved 31 July 2011. 
  37. ^ "LTTE sports head PAPA working for the government intelligence unit". March 2009. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  38. ^ a b "Transcript- Rohan Gunaratne".  
  39. ^ T. Sabaratnam (7 March 1998). "Tamil Guerrillas in Sri Lanka: Deadly and Armed to the Teeth".  
  40. ^ Other people's wars: A Review of Overseas Terrorism in Canada, John Thompson, The Mackenzie Institute.
  41. ^ a b c "LTTE Cabal opposes "KP" as leader of re-structured Tigers". July 2009. Retrieved 31 July 2011. 
  42. ^ "LTTE New Leader Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP) arrested in Malaysia and transported to Sri Lanka". Tamil Sydney. 6 August 2009. Retrieved 28 July 2011. 
  43. ^ "Huge success for counter-terrorism - Shanaka Jayasekara". May 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2011. 
  44. ^ "LTTE international Propaganda TV Station to suspend transmission". June 2008. Retrieved 31 July 2011. 
  45. ^ "Breaking News: The LTTE TV Tharishanam goes off the air from today onwards".  
  46. ^ "LTTE TV Channel Banned in Italy". May 2008. Retrieved 31 July 2011. 
  47. ^ "London IBC Radio - LTTE Propaganda mouthpiece continuously spews rabid anti Sri Lanka campaign".  

External links

  • Voice of Tigers website
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