Sri Lankan troops capture rebel-controlled territory in east (Sri Lanka)

Colombo - Government troops have captured an important area held by Tamil rebels in eastern Sri Lanka bringing more territory under the control of the government, a military spokesman said Wednesday.


The Kokkadicholai area, 260 kilometres east of the capital, used by rebels for operations against government troops was brought under control Wednesday after nearly a month-long offensive in the area, the military spokesman said.

One of the main bases of the rebels in the eastern province, troops found an air-conditioned conference room and a building with bedrooms and electricity-run kitchen units in the midst of the jungle, the spokesman said.

Advancing troops found a large haul of claymore mines, land mines, anti-personnel mines, improvised explosive devices, guns and ammunition that had been hurriedly left behind by fleeing Tiger rebels in the face of advancing troops, he said.

Some 150,000 civilians have been displaced due to the recent military operations in the eastern province, according to government officials based in the area.

The Tamil Tiger rebels have been striking back at the military with attacks the last two days targeting bases. On Tuesday, a suicide bomber drove a tractor-trailer loaded with explosives to an army camp, killing eight people.

On Monday, in the first airstrike by the rebels, two light air craft dropped bombs on the main military air base that adjoins Sri Lanka's only international airport, killing three airmen.

Von: 28.03.2007

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