Troops uncover LTTE underground fuel storage


Colombo : Sri Lankan troops advancing into the last bastion of the Tamil Tigers Monday uncovered a huge underground fuel storage complex in the forested Mullaitivu district, the army headquarters said.

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The army said the complex had oil sufficient at least for two years and belonged to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

It was discovered at Dharmapuram as the troops expedited their push further into LTTE strongholds in and around Mullaitivu center.

“The oil, kept neatly filled in 300 plastic barrels of 225 litters each, had been meticulously buried inside a thriving coconut grove of about one acre,” the army said.

“The detection, the biggest ever quantity of LTTE oil that has been so far uncovered, came about exactly four days after troops brought Dharmapuram town center area under their control,” it said.

It added that the detection of the oil storage would badly hamper LTTE’s mobility and all transport activities.

Elsewhere, the troops found the wreckage of an aircraft in the rebel air strip in the east of Iranaimadhu tank Sunday.

The army said investigations have confirmed that “those pieces belonged to a Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) aircraft that crashed into the area several years ago”.

Stepping up attacks against the rebels, Sri Lankan troops backed by artillery and aerial attacks captured several LTTE fortifications in the area.

Air force jet Monday carried out three raids targeting “a group of LTTE cadres and vehicles involved in making an earth bund and LTTE defence lines”.

The military said that several LTTE hideouts in the general area northwest and east of Puthukkudiyiruppu “have reportedly fallen into army hands one after the other during late Sunday when 57, 58, 59 Division troops and the Task Force II mounted heavy and surprise attacks”.

It said that three bodies of LTTE cadres along with two T-56 assault riffles, six grenades and a large haul of ammunitions were found during search operations in the area.

The LTTE has been fighting against the Sri Lankan government for a quarter century to carve out a separate state for Tamils in the northern and eastern parts of the island.