Massive hunt for hidden Tiger arms (Sri Lanka)
With major combat operations coming to an end in the northern theatre, the armed forces spearheaded by the army and police would now go all out to recover arms and ammunition hidden by the LTTE, security officials said.
They said that authorities would also have to track down LTTE cadres who had gone underground in the city and its suburbs. Responding to our queries, an intelligence official said that the recovery of weapons abandoned on the ground by retreating LTTE cadres would be easy. The difficult task would be to locate hidden armaments, he said.
Among the armaments and equipment recovered by the army clearing Vellamullivaikkal over the weekend were nine 40 mm grenade launchers, 289 T-56 assault rifles, 10 multi purpose machine guns, two 60 mm mortars, 13 communication sets, six 12.7 mm weapons and eight thermo-baric weapons.
The STF, conducting clearing operations in the Elamurippukulam in the East last Friday (May 22) evening recovered three suicide jackets, 18 rounds of T-56 ammunition, 36 rounds of micro pistol ammunition, one hand grenade, ten rounds of 40 mm grenades, three electronic detonators, one tool kit of a 40 mm grenade launcher and two military fatigues.
About a week after the decimation of the LTTE leadership on the Mullaitivu front, the army searching Vellamullivaikkal, a former LTTE stronghold, had recovered 20 T-56 assault rifles, one T-81 weapon, one 60 mm mortar launcher, two 40 mm grenade launchers, one multi purpose machine gun, one M-16 weapon, four FNC guns, two suicide jackets, two shot guns, one mini Uzi gun, four radar scanners and four radar monitors also on Friday.
The LTTE is believed to have operated six radars to monitor ship movements on the north-western and north-eastern coast. During the last stages of the battle, the LTTE had operated two radars, a navy official told The Island yesterday.
An army spokesman told The Island that troops had also found five decomposed bodies of LTTE cadres along with three communication sets, two pistols and two magazines in Mullaitivu.
Meanwhile, troops operating at Udayarkattukulam recovered 780 rounds of 12.7 ammunition, three 120 mm mortar bombs, six 81 mm mortar bombs, two hundred and forty five 120 mm fuses, eight 60 mm mortar bombs, 105 fuses, 105 anti-personnel mines, eight 1.5 kg claymore mines and four improvised explosive devices on Friday.
The army said that troops continued to recover arms and ammunition from areas liberated by troops last year. According to the army, search operations conducted in Adampan, Mallavi and Akkarayankulam on the Vanni west on Friday had led to the recovery of two claymore mines, two light machine gun drums, 3,878 rounds of T-56 ammunition, 200 rounds of multi purpose machine gun ammunition, three hand grenades and three G3 A3 magazines.
The Navy was directing operations in the Trincomalee area, an official said.
Von: 25.05.2009, http://www.island.lk/2009/05/25/news1.html