[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
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.