Lankan military recovers powerful anti-personnel mine (Sri Lanka)

Colombo (AP): Sri Lanka's military said it averted a deadly strike on its forces on Sunday when a team recovered a powerful anti-personnel mine from a road in the Tamil-majority Jaffna Peninsula that was to be used by a military convoy.


"Our advanced patrol team found this Claymore mine which was very powerful," military spokesman, Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said. The mine, which could have been detonated by remote control, weighed 10 kilograms (22 pounds) and was capable of inflicting damage and deaths, he said.

Samarasinghe did not speculate on who may have planted the mine, but the explosive devices are a favored weapon of Tamil Tiger separatist rebels, who have been fighting the government for over 20 years for a separate homeland for minority Tamils in the north and east.

The mine was planted in northern Jaffna Peninsula, Samarasinghe said.

Jaffna is the cultural and traditional home of Sri Lanka's minority Tamils. The military holds towns in the peninsula while the rebels are in control of villages and jungles.

Separately, the rebels accused the military of exploding a Claymore mine early Sunday that killed two Tamil civilians inside rebel-controlled areas in northern Vavuniya, south of Jaffna, according to the pro-rebel TamilNet Web site.

Samarasinghe denied the army's involvement.

Several civilians have recently been killed in unexplained circumstances with the government and the rebels blaming each other.

Sri Lanka's civil war received a respite in 2002 when Norway brokered a cease-fire. But the truce has come under serious strain in recent months because of increasing violence.

On Thursday, proposed direct talks in Oslo, Norway between government and rebel representatives failed after the insurgents refused to meet with government officials.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels have fought the government since 1983 to create a separate state for Tamils, accusing the majority Sinhalese of discrimination.

More than 65,000 people were killed in the conflict before the truce.

Von: 11.06.2006,

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