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Sri Lankan Tamils moving out to raise LTTE funds Indo-Asian News Service

According to the Indo-Asian News report, Thousands of Tamils are reported to be on their way out of Sri Lanka to raise money for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), according to official sources. The men are seeking entry into different countries to gain a foothold as migrants, the sources said. Money from overseas Tamils has become the primary source of funding for the LTTE. A group of 39 Tamils were caught in the back of a lorry that had crossed over into England in recent days. Hundreds are settling down in France after abandoning attempts to cross over into England.

A group of 116 Tamils from Lanka were caught in two boats off Yemen Monday. Hundreds have been detected but immigration authorities believe that thousands more are on the move. Some of these men are refugees seeking to flee the conflict in Sri Lanka. But many more are believed to be a part of an LTTE plan to send men out to raise resources for the Tigers' struggle as funding channels come under increasing pressure.

The LTTE has been outlawed by Britain and the U.S. as a terrorist organisation. But LTTE supporters are believed to be working actively underground to send finances to arm the struggle.

Police in Britain are questioning a German lorry driver who brought 39 Tamils and an Indian into Britain Sunday morning. The driver, Andreas Mentzel, has been charged with illegal facilitation of entry into Britain for the 40 men. The police believe he could have information on the smuggling links that are sending the men over.

The group of Tamils caught included an eight-year-old boy and two teenagers. Some of the Tamils were suffering from heat exhaustion and had to be treated in hospital.

About the same time that the men were caught in the truck in England a group of Tamils were stranded in boats off Yemen. The Tamils in Yemen were headed for the Red Sea, according to a report from Aden.

The two boats were not allowed to leave because they were dangerously overcrowded, according to local reports. Europe and the Gulf have become prime destinations for Tamils sailing out of Sri Lanka, the sources said. The Tamils are reported to have been given extensive training and contact networks to secure jobs and send money back to Sri Lanka.



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