Daily Archives: February 17, 2007

People arrested and boat sunk with Indian arms and ammunition


By Walter Jayawardhana


Arrests in Tamil Nadu and a salvage of more than 1.5 million steel balls to be used in claymore bombs and RDX from a sunken Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) boat indicate the porous South Indian coast has become the main supply grounds for smuggling weapons and ammunition to Sri Lanka, sources close to defense Ministry said.

The poorly understaffed Indian Coast Guards Service has arrested five suspected members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam off the Tamil Nadu coast of the country’s South. But the boats carrying weapons and ammunition show many escape their watch over the Southern coastal belt.

The Indian Coast Guard Services said an AK-56 assault rifle, a satellite phone, 124 rounds of ammunition, five hand grenades, detonators and a belt used for suicide attacks were recovered from the arrested persons.

“We do not know whether they are LTTE cadre. We have just apprehended them. We have detained them. We are going to hand over them to the Chennai police and that is the job of the Chennai police to find out whether they are LTTE cadre,” said Rajinder Singh, Inspector General, Coast Guard.

Singh said the detainees told them that they had received instructions to deliver the ammunition to Cuddalore, a coastal city 155 km from Chennai, where LTTE smuggling boats frequent.

One of the LTTE boats, that had escaped the Indian Navy and the Coastguards was sunk by the Sri Lanka Navy off Sri Lanka’s Northwest coast with its cargo of weapons, ammunition and four LTTE fighters on Friday the 16 February. The four LTTE men were killed.

Sri Lanka Navy said they sank the two boats off two small islands near Puttalama when the suspected LTTE guerillas failed to stop their boat when ordered and fired back at the Navy.

Navy frogmen later called to the place salvaged ammunition including more than million steel balls of suspected Indian origin from the sunken boat.

Navy spokesman D.K.P. Dassanayaka said, “Navy divers recovered 28 bags which contained 1.5 million steel balls made in India, which are used for Claymore mines.”

Tiger bombers have used Claymore fragmentation mines in a series of deadly ambushes in the past year amid a new chapter in a two-decade civil war, including the Kebithigollewa attack which targeted a civilian bus that killed 65 passengers including 15 children.

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