Uploaded on Jun 2, 2009
A Tamil terror chief who allegedly handed cyanide pills to child soldiers is living in a London suburb, the Standard can reveal.
Sri Lankan intelligence officials believe Adele Balasingham, 59, is one of the most senior figures in the remains of the terror group which fought a 26-year war for independence on the island and was defeated last month.
They claim she has played a key role in organising protests by Tamils outside Parliament and want Britain to take action against her.
Sri Lanka's government believes Tamil Tiger leaders abroad are raising funds and procuring equipment which could be used in fresh attacks.
Mrs Balasingham lives in a œ500,000 house in New Malden, Surrey. She is the widow of Anton Balasingham, a Sri Lankan with British citizenship who was the chief political strategist of the Tamil Tigers until he died in 2006.
Mrs Balasingham, an Australian-born nurse, met and married him while he was living in London in the Seventies. She became deeply involved in the Tigers' cause - ending up as the leader of its women soldiers and nicknamed "Aunty" on the island. An undated video of Mrs Balasingham, showing her in camouflage fatigues and presiding over a parade of female child soldiers, has been circulated to confirm her status as one of the movement's most influential figures.
The female Tamil Tiger fighters, some thought to be as young as 14, have completed three months of training.
She is seen presenting them with cyanide capsules to be worn on a necklace and swallowed if they are about to be captured by troops. Her presence in Britain has increased tensions between Britain and Sri Lanka, which believes the Government has been "too soft" on Tiger associates since banning the group in 2001.
A senior Sri Lankan High Commission source told the Standard: "Given the association of Mrs Balasingham with the senior ranks of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) she could be seen as a sole survivor. "She was involved in taking major decisions in the hierarchy of the LTTE and there is a possibility that supporters will rally around her in Britain.
"We believe the Parliament Square protests were organised directly from the Tamil Tigers leadership... and Mrs Balasingham has been a main point of contact in the UK for this."
Representatives of the Sri Lankan government are to meet Scotland Yard and the Home Office in the coming weeks for talks on the Tigers' presence in Britain. There are fears a new faction of the Tamil Tigers could emerge, fuelled by anger over the number of innocent people killed by the Sri Lankan army in its offensive against the militants. Mrs Balasingham, who rarely leaves her four-bedroom home, declined to speak to the Standard. In her 2001 book The Will To Freedom: An Inside View Of Tamil Resistance, she wrote about staying as a "guest of honour" with Tigers' founder Velupillai Prabhakaran.
Scotland Yard said they were unable to comment on ongoing inquiries.