Sri Lankan suicide bomber caught on video


by Sunny
2nd December, 2007 at 11:54 pm    

An attack by the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) to kill Sri Lankan cabinet minister Douglas Devananda on wednesday last week was caught on CCTV camera there and then released to the media. If you so wish, you can watch it on YouTube. Complete madness.
[hat tip: James, in the comments]


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  1. Rohin — on 3rd December, 2007 at 3:06 am  

    I’m pretty sure that’s her head you can see launching upwards and landing over the other side of the room.

  2. Kesara — on 3rd December, 2007 at 3:52 am  

    Brought back some unpleasant memories that…

  3. Indy — on 3rd December, 2007 at 4:23 am  

    The video is absolutely shocking. Why do people become suicide bombers. There has to be a psychological research on these people – what makes them so anti-human. Is it religion, or is it some other frustration that they suffer from.

  4. Kulvinder — on 3rd December, 2007 at 6:51 am  

    I’ve never been able to bring myself to watch the jihadi beheading videos, but i felt strangely compelled to watch that. Not because of a macabre fetish; rather a need acknowledge the situation in Sri Lanka.

    Whilst the attention of the world has for the last 10 years been drawn almost exclusively to Iraq and fundamentalist islam its worth confronting – in our own minds – a degree of ambivalence we have towards what goes on there. After all despite the brutality being every bit as bad as Iraq we still happily go on holiday to Sri Lanka.

    Since neither side wishes to include ‘westerners’ in the fighting we’re ‘okay’ to let people die in the most horrendous way whilst we sit on the beach a few miles away – you certainly can’t imagine iraq becoming a tourist destination.

    I can’t offer any solution to the problems that Sri Lanka faces, but it is sometimes good to be shocked into learning about what actually is going on; rather like i imagine the BBC’s reports from Ethiopia forced people to confront the famine, or looking at pictures of the camps during the civil war in Yugoslavia gave an immediate emotional kick to the ethnic cleansing.

  5. Raj — on 3rd December, 2007 at 9:29 am  

    This young TAMIL woman was sent to kill a TAMIL politician in a TAMIL political office in Colombo. She ended up killing another TAMIL. And all this because the LTTE apparently hates the Sinhalese and Muslims and other non-Tamils. The so-called “freedom struggle” is just a bunch of hogwash really. Prabhakaran, the leader of the Tigers, was busy killing prominent democratically elected Tamils long before the LTTE became such a big organization; he assasinated the Mayor of Jaffna.

  6. Raj — on 3rd December, 2007 at 9:32 am  

    This young TAMIL woman was sent to kill a TAMIL politician in a TAMIL political office in Colombo. She ended up killing another TAMIL. And all this because the LTTE apparently hates the Sinhalese and Muslims. The so-called ” Tamil freedom struggle” is just a bunch of hogwash really. I don’t think any other “freedom fighters” have killed so many of their own people in such brutal fashion. Prabhakaran, the leader of the Tigers, was busy killing prominent democratically elected Tamils long before the LTTE became such a big organization; he assasinated the Mayor of Jaffna.

    On another note, I guess this is how the Tamil suicide bomber who assassinated Rajiv Gandhi did her job. She was wearing a Sari too and detonated herself when she was garlanding him. Going by the video Rajiv Gandhi would have had no chance.

  7. Kesara — on 3rd December, 2007 at 10:40 am  

    They’re brainwashed from mostly a young age. The US worries about the LTTE offering bombers for hire in fact, to other groups – they’ve certainly perfected the art.

    A while ago a female bomber disguised as a pregnant woman attempted to assasinate the Army Chief of Staff…

    …she wasn’t disguised as a pregnant woman though – she WAS pregnant; no holds barred spontaneous combustion.

  8. Indy — on 3rd December, 2007 at 10:53 am  

    There will always be crazy people in this world who want to blow themselves up just to make a political or religious statement.

    Only way out is to identify such potential maniacs before they have the chance to cause much damage to society.

  9. Raj — on 3rd December, 2007 at 10:56 am  

    Yeah I remember that pregnant suicide bomber incident. That was the lowest of the low. Absolutely sickening. What’s next? Child suicide bombers? Afterall, the LTTE has a whole army of child soldiers. Who is going to suspect a 8 year old kid?

  10. Kesara — on 3rd December, 2007 at 12:02 pm  

    Only way out is to identify such potential maniacs before they have the chance to cause much damage to society.

    Won’t do much good in Sri Lanka/Iraq etc – they operate within a larger umbrella structure – its their handlers who need to be taken out. The LTTE have been grooming kids for nearly two decades – many completely drained of any ability to think for themselves. Indoctrinate & detonate.

    Afterall, the LTTE has a whole army of child soldiers. Who is going to suspect a 8 year old kid?

    They use them on the battlefield – ruthlessly effective. Many army soldiers are 18 – 25 and when facing enemy combatants old enough to be their kid brothers/sisters, makes them hesitate for that split (and many times fatal) second longer. Not only does it make them easier to sneak under the radar but the psychological impact on both sides is horrendous (albeit ruthlessly effective for the party using them).

    Thats what gives terrorists the advantage – they can fight war with no holds barred ruthlessness that government/state forces cannot match (due to adherence to RoE, Conventions, social/moral/political accountability etc).

  11. Morgoth — on 3rd December, 2007 at 12:02 pm  

    There are claims that the Bhutto suicide bombers hid explosives on the personage of a toddler and used the toddler to get close to the convoy. Khomenei of course, was the exponent par excellence of using children to clear minefields.

  12. sonia — on 3rd December, 2007 at 12:24 pm  

    Overall, until we are ready to see a conception of equivalent humanity based on other than coming from the same ethnicity, same religion, same whatever sub-division, and rights based on being human, rather than ‘which group you come from’, these sorts of things will carry on perpetuating. does it matter if powerful top down leadership is of the same ethnicity as you are, or is it worse/”rubbed in” when its someone who you consider “alien”. the interesting thing for me is that the indian subcontinent has for centuries shown how so many people have accepted what is effectively hierarchical slavery – accept your position – and let the people at the top – get away with all sorts. as long as that is part of “our culture and tradition”, whatever that is. the minute it goes outside of the “approved” intra-group domination, boom! and then people are willing to use all sorts of violent means to counter such domination, but they clearly weren’t prepared to use such violent means against “their own”.

  13. Morgoth — on 3rd December, 2007 at 12:58 pm  

    Terrorism is wrong.

    You should have stopped there. The rest of your post is a series of “buts” contradicting your basic assertion.

  14. Sid — on 3rd December, 2007 at 1:06 pm  

    As in your series of “buts” when it comes to IRA terrorism – which for you is rational? Really Morgoth, your stupidity is also your badge of honour.

  15. douglas clark — on 3rd December, 2007 at 1:25 pm  

    Rohin, whilst I agree with you about the backstory bit, are you not willing to at least allow for the brainwashing that must take place?

  16. justforfun — on 3rd December, 2007 at 1:26 pm  

    For your education Rohin – this tactic is not new.

    “Killers are still killers, irrespective of the backstory.” Not always so.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proxy_bomb

    It is probably being used in Iraq and elsewhere as we speak. Where people’s love of their family is ‘weaponized’. A chilling thought that many go reluctantly to their targets. To try and think that by understanding the suicide bomber we will somehow find the cure is wishfull thinking. The people we have to combat are the people who finance and send these people to their deaths. The lone self motivated, autonomous suicide bomber is, I believe, quite rare.

    Justforfun

    Kulvinder @ 4 – my thoughts and behaviour are the same.

  17. Morgoth — on 3rd December, 2007 at 1:45 pm  

    As in your series of “buts” when it comes to IRA terrorism – which for you is rational? Really Morgoth, your stupidity is also your badge of honour.

    IRA Terrorism? The only supporter of IRA Terrorism around here is Clairwill, for which I believe she has recanted. I lost close family members to the INLA, for fuck’s sake – I’ve hardly got a favourable view of fuckers like Adams and McGuiness (of whom if they were now shot I’d be dancing in the streets). What I was pointing out, and what you deliberately failed to understand, mainly due to the fact that you’re a complete knob whose sole trick is to scream “racist!” at anyone who disagrees with you (unless its Morrissey), was that the IRA were not interested in creating a world-wide theocratic 32-continent republic where protestants would have been put to death for merely *existing*.

  18. soru — on 3rd December, 2007 at 2:04 pm  

    For once, morgoth is right. The ‘wider context’ is not some regional economic imbalance, like that between Newcastle and London, let alone some cultural clash, like that between the US and Saudi Arabia.

    The ‘wider context’ _is_ terrorism – the LTTE have the capability for widespread use of suicide bombers, the other groups involved, including non-LTTE Tamil groups, don’t. The LTTE want to press that military advantage to choose fights that neutralise the strengths of their enemies, defeat them, and expand the area they control.

    The direct analogy is the 19C Sudan, with Kichener using Maxim guns and railways to neutralise the Mahdi’s strength in numbers and location, fighting and winning a campaign that wouldn’t have been conceivable without those military advances.

    You can, if you choose, come up with some kind if imagined justification by which Kichener was right to invade and conquer the Sudan, and those who agree with that kind of thing will agree with you. What you can’t do is consider that invasion right, but discount the maxim guns as a deplorable detail. Those guns were the underlying rocks of fact around which economics and cultural structures formed.

    For Kichener and the 19C brits, substitute the LTTE, for maxim guns, suicide bombers.

    Passing moral or aesthetic judgement on a society with suicide terror as its foundation is an exercise best left to the reader.

  19. Rohin — on 3rd December, 2007 at 2:08 pm  

    Joy, you’re completely confusing the issue.

    I didn’t say we shouldn’t investigate the reasons things like this happen. I just said a killer is a killer. Judging the person is unrelated to sympathising with the plight of a people.

    I’ve travelled around Sri Lanka quite a bit and worked in Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim areas. I know what injustices Tamils have suffered. Doesn’t make me support the LTTE nor any form of terrorism.

  20. soru — on 3rd December, 2007 at 2:12 pm  

    Just to clarify, when I said ‘morgoth was right, I was referring to posts up the thread, not that last@20, which is pretty spectacularly stupid for reasons I don’t have time to go into in detail.

  21. sonia — on 3rd December, 2007 at 2:26 pm  

    what’s wrong with Morgoth’s statement in 13 – why is it stupid Sid have i missed something?

  22. sonia — on 3rd December, 2007 at 2:28 pm  

    22. well said rohin

  23. Raj — on 3rd December, 2007 at 2:54 pm  

    Joy1 did you see the innocent men, women and the child in the video? Yet this lady detonates herself without qualms. This is nothing but a terrorist attack in a place filled with civilians. Who was the target? A Tamil politician. Where did the attack take place? In the political offices of the Tamil party. Why is she trying to kill Tamils? Isn’t her fight with the SInhalese/Muslims/Government/Non-Tamils? It’s a complete farce. Tamils killing Tamils and claiming it is a “freedom fight.” The whole of Sri Lanka is celebrating the feats of a great Tamil Sri Lankan today – Muttiah Muralitharan, and more than 50% of the Tamils live outside the claimed North East homeland in the island. This suicide bomber just represents pure and unadultered terrorism.

  24. Raj — on 3rd December, 2007 at 2:58 pm  

    Joy1, if Tamils are being persecuted by the Sinhalese, why are Tamils killing Tamils in Sri Lanka?

  25. soru — on 3rd December, 2007 at 3:15 pm  

    I did not justify any terrorism.,/i>

  26. Bert Preast — on 3rd December, 2007 at 3:32 pm  

    Woah, thought Sunny was making us write lines for a moment there.

  27. Ravi Naik — on 3rd December, 2007 at 3:38 pm  

    “Joy1, if Tamils are being persecuted by the Sinhalese, why are Tamils killing Tamils in Sri Lanka?”

    That is a pretty good point, though it is known that Sri Lankan cabinet minister Douglas Devananda was a tamil tiger in his youth, and now has been branded a traitor. So far there have been ten failed attempts against his life.

    Suicide bombers are a not a special breed of tyrants. A normal person does not have the will to suicide in such a brutal way no matter how strongly he/she believes in the cause. It requires a lot of mental preparation and brainwashing. Humans are highly susceptible. That is why for every suicide bomber, there is an organisation behind it: Al Qaeda, LTTE.

    The only way to stop a terrorist organisation like LTTE is to stop financing them.

  28. Rohin — on 3rd December, 2007 at 5:38 pm  

    Joy, you’re a bit of a dick. Why automatically assume I’m Sinhalese just because I don’t agree with you? I have no Sri Lankan connections whatsoever.

    This ‘what would you do?’ argument is asinine. Who knows what I’d do? If I was in the concentration camps, would I support Israeli aggression? If I lost family in Operation Blue Star, would I hate Congress? It’s a pointless discussion.

    You can justify anything in that case, as there is no line that can be drawn; it would be arbitrarily designated. OJ Simpson (legal: allegedly) killed his wife because she had an affair. How would I feel if my wife cheated? I don’t know. Ah but cheating isn’t bad enough to kill someone for. 10pts for cheating. What about if my wife was raped? 50pts? Do I get to kill yet? What if my Dad was murdered? Now I get the bra-bomb out, I’m totally justified!

    Your argument would also hold more water if a) the LTTE didn’t kill numerous of their own and b) didn’t kill innocents.

    Having said I don’t know how I would react, I sure as hell wouldn’t strap a bomb to myself, it’s pathetic.

  29. sonia — on 3rd December, 2007 at 6:06 pm  

    good points rohin. interesting how this joy1 or 2 fellow thought automatically you must be the “enemy” !

  30. Sunny — on 3rd December, 2007 at 6:26 pm  

    Let’s seperate out two issues here:

    1) understanding the context and the reason for the conflict taking place. For example, as the recent Human Rights Watch report indicated (linked here on PP), the Sri Lankan govt also has a huge case to answer for state-sponsored terrorism, and that must also be condemned and dealt with if one is standing up for human rights. (I think this is what Joy1) is referring to.

    2) Justifying acts of indiscriminate killing. This is where someone says that given the situation we covered in point 1, where there is grave injustice, it must only follow that the suicide bomber is a victim of circumstances and is therefore blameless.

    This is the wrong position to take because suicide bombers get created not just by the situations they are in but also by manipulative political forces who have deeply ingrained hatred that goes past simply demanding basic justice.

    This is why they are frequently happy to kill their own to attain their political goals. Many Sikh Khalistanis did it in Punjab over the 80s and Muslim groups kill each other all the time in the Middle East.

  31. Don — on 3rd December, 2007 at 6:44 pm  

    Joy1 might find debate here easier if (s)he were to spend a little time finding out who people are, what they advocate, maybe even engage calmly with them for a while and seek clarification, before excitedly characterising them as the malevolent ‘other’ at the drop of a hat.

    So far (s)he has guessed wrong 100% of the time.

    It’s no use being quick on the trigger unless you can hit your mark.

  32. septicisle — on 3rd December, 2007 at 7:02 pm  

    Yes, it certainly is the bomber’s head which flies across the room. Suicide bombers’ heads almost always decapitate when the explosives are strapped around the chest – someone with a more scientific background than mine could probably explain exactly why. I’ve seen numerous photographs, from Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan and the second Bali bombings of wholesale heads of bombers lying on the ground (and in one recent, notorious video from Iraq, being kicked and held up by Iraqi police/security forces) whilst the rest of the body is almost always little more than viscera.

    First time though that an actual person carrying out a bombing (as opposed to car/truck suicide bombings, which jihadist groups have often released in the past) has been caught so clearly, and thanks to the relatively small amount of explosives used, with the aftermath visible.

  33. El Cid — on 3rd December, 2007 at 9:00 pm  

    Yeah I remember that pregnant suicide bomber incident. That was the lowest of the low. Absolutely sickening. What’s next? Child suicide bombers? Afterall, the LTTE has a whole army of child soldiers. Who is going to suspect a 8 year old kid?

    I think some arab groups have used ‘special needs’ suicide bombers before

    by all means necessary i guess.

  34. septicisle — on 3rd December, 2007 at 10:16 pm  

    There was the case of the Hamas teenage bomber who apparently had a very low IQ who was stopped by Israeli troops. There have also been allegations made about the Taliban sending child bombers, but the veracity of such claims is difficult to check.

  35. bobby — on 3rd December, 2007 at 11:38 pm  

    What is your justification for linking to that?

  36. Don — on 3rd December, 2007 at 11:40 pm  

    What?

  37. bobby — on 3rd December, 2007 at 11:42 pm  

    I’ve just thought a little more about this. If it brings the brutality of the LTTE and their actions to light it might not be a bad thing.

  38. Sam — on 4th December, 2007 at 5:50 am  

    The LTTE has a horrible record of cold-blooded murder of individuals, mostly unarmed, who sought a peaceful resolution of the Sri Lankan ethnic strife. It has also indulged in an intense fratricidal war, killing members of other Tamil militant organisati ons. The devices used by the LTTE have been varied – members of its Black Tiger suicide squad who wore belt bombs or rode motorcycles or bicycles after strapping explosives to their bodies; assault rifles; pistols; landmines; grenades and so forth. It ha s also resorted to the hanging of “traitors” from lamp-posts.

    The LTTE’s “diary of murders” had its first entry on July 27, 1975 with the killing of Jaffna Mayor Alfred Duraiappa of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party.

    In May 1986, it hunted down and shot dead Sri Sabarathnam, the charismatic leader of the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO), as the organisation’s proximity to India posed a threat to the Tigers’ hegemony. Sri Sabarathnam was killed in a betel pl antation in the Jaffna peninsula. The Tigers then executed several hundred TELO militants.

    The LTTE has a horrible record of cold-blooded murder of individuals, mostly unarmed, who sought a peaceful resolution of the Sri Lankan ethnic strife. It has also indulged in an intense fratricidal war, killing members of other Tamil militant organisati ons. The devices used by the LTTE have been varied – members of its Black Tiger suicide squad who wore belt bombs or rode motorcycles or bicycles after strapping explosives to their bodies; assault rifles; pistols; landmines; grenades and so forth. It ha s also resorted to the hanging of “traitors” from lamp-posts.

    The LTTE’s “diary of murders” had its first entry on July 27, 1975 with the killing of Jaffna Mayor Alfred Duraiappa of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party.

    In May 1986, it hunted down and shot dead Sri Sabarathnam, the charismatic leader of the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO), as the organisation’s proximity to India posed a threat to the Tigers’ hegemony. Sri Sabarathnam was killed in a betel pl antation in the Jaffna peninsula. The Tigers then executed several hundred TELO militants.

    The LTTE has a horrible record of cold-blooded murder of individuals, mostly unarmed, who sought a peaceful resolution of the Sri Lankan ethnic strife. It has also indulged in an intense fratricidal war, killing members of other Tamil militant organisati ons. The devices used by the LTTE have been varied – members of its Black Tiger suicide squad who wore belt bombs or rode motorcycles or bicycles after strapping explosives to their bodies; assault rifles; pistols; landmines; grenades and so forth. It ha s also resorted to the hanging of “traitors” from lamp-posts.

    The LTTE’s “diary of murders” had its first entry on July 27, 1975 with the killing of Jaffna Mayor Alfred Duraiappa of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party.

    In May 1986, it hunted down and shot dead Sri Sabarathnam, the charismatic leader of the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO), as the organisation’s proximity to India posed a threat to the Tigers’ hegemony. Sri Sabarathnam was killed in a betel pl antation in the Jaffna peninsula. The Tigers then executed several hundred TELO militants.

    The LTTE also had the temerity to carry out its operations outside Sri Lanka. On June 19, 1990, the Tigers stormed into an apartment at Zachria Colony in Kodambakkam, Chennai, when the central committee m eeting of the EPRLF was under way, and sprayed bullets. Thirteen top EPRLF leaders, including its soft-spoken secretary-general K. Padmanabha, Finance Minister in the now defunct Northeastern Provincial Council P. Kirubakaran, and Member of Parliament Yo gasankari, were killed. While escaping in a car after the attack, they killed two local people. The killers fled to the Jaffna peninsula from the Vedaranyam coast of Tamil Nadu.

    FULL STORY: http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1617/16171020.htm

  39. Sofi — on 4th December, 2007 at 11:48 am  

    the vid is so disturbing.

    which came first: the tamil suicide bomber or the arab one?

  40. septicisle — on 5th December, 2007 at 12:58 am  

    Sofi: The LTTE and Hizbullah happened upon the idea around much the same time, although I think the LTTE were the first.

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