[QODLink]
Archive
Sri Lanka troops 'capture' Tiger town
The Sri Lankan government says its troops have captured an eastern coastal town used by Tamil Tigers to launch artillery attacks against the strategic naval port of Trincomalee.
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2006 08:11 GMT
Fighting in Sri Lanka has intensified since December
The Sri Lankan government says its troops have captured an eastern coastal town used by Tamil Tigers to launch artillery attacks against the strategic naval port of Trincomalee.

Keheliya Rambukwella, the policy planning minister, said security forces had moved into Sampur, 10km across the Koddiya Bay from the Trincomalee naval and air complex on Monday, with hardly any resistance.

"We captured the main Sampur artillery position of the Tigers," said Rambukwella who is also the government's defence spokesman.

"We suspect they dismantled the guns or pulled them back. We are now in Sampur."

He said troops had moved in on Monday after a lull in fighting on Sunday.

Clashes

However, a soldier was killed and several others were wounded in an overnight mortar bomb attack against security forces in the area, military officials said.

The military had virtually suspended a ground advance towards Sampur at the weekend, following weeks of fighting after intense rebel resistance.

"Troops are now engaged in clearing operations"

Keheliya Rambukwella,  policy planning minister

But the air force pounded the area using Israeli-built Kfir fighter jets, clearing the way for ground troops to walk in, officials said.

"Troops are now engaged in clearing operations," Rambukwella said. "The only resistance we encountered was mines and booby-trapped devices."

"Our objective is not to take land, but to neutralise these three guns in the national interest," Rambukwella said.

There was no immediate word from the Tigers on the military claim.

Fighting in Sri Lanka has intensified since December, shattering a ceasefire in place since 2002 and leaving more than 1,500 dead, according to official figures.

Both sides have pledged to uphold the truce and accuse each other of mounting offensive operations.

More than 60,000 people have died in the past three decades in the ethnic war for a Tamil homeland.

Source:
AFP
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
Absenteeism among doctors at government hospitals is rife, prompting innovative efforts to ensure they turn up for work.
Marginalised and jobless, desperate young men in Nairobi slums provide fertile ground for al-Shabab.
The Khmer Rouge tribunal is set to hear genocide charges for targeting ethnic Vietnamese and Cham Muslims.
'I'm dying anyway, one piece at a time' said Steve Fobister, who suffers from disabilities caused by mercury poisoning.
The world's newest professional sport comes from an unlikely source: video games.
join our mailing list