LTTE’s artillery gun, underwater vehicle captured: Sri LankaJanuary 29th, 2009 - 10:38 pm ICT by IANS
Colombo, Jan 29 (IANS) Sri Lankan troops in hot pursuit of the Tamil Tiger rebels in the north-eastern Mullaitivu Thursday captured a long-range artillery gun and a 35-feet long underwater vehicle the fleeing rebels left behind, the defence ministry said Thursday.It said that 10 Gajaba Regiment (GR) troops of the 58 Division under the command of Maj. Janaka Uduowita in Mullaitivu have captured a 152 mm artillery gun along with 70 empty ammunition cases in northeast of Vishwamadhu.
“The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terrorists receiving heavy beating from security forces have fled in total disarray, also leaving the artillery gun which was dismantled and prepared for transportation,” the defence ministry said in a statement.
According to military sources, the 152 mm artillery gun is known as “an area neutralization weapon” used in the battlefields with effective firing ranges between 17-24 km.
“The gun is in good operational condition. Further search operations are continuing in the area,” the statement said.
This is for the first time that the government troops, who captured vast tracts of territories from the LTTE from Mannar to Pooneryn on the western coastal belt and major rebel towns such as Mankulam, Kilinochchi, Paranthan, Elephant Pass and Mullaitivu since last year, have recovered a long range weapon from the rebels.
The recovery of the LTTE heavy weapon came a day after the Army’s Task Force III “found an LTTE underwater vehicle along with three other smaller underwater vehicles which are still under construction from the Udayarkattukulam area in Mullaitivu”.
“The largest underwater vehicle found is about 35 feet in length,” the defence ministry said in a separate statement, adding that three pedal-type suicide boats, one Dvora-type fast attack craft were among the other items found Wednesday.
Describing it as “the most startling recovery made by troops so far” during the ongoing military thrust against the LTTE, it said three suicide boats and a large haul of LTTE maritime equipment were also found at the location.
There was no immediate reaction from the LTTE, which has been fighting to carve out a separate state in Sri Lanka for over a quarter century.
Carrying out a fight-to-finish campaign against the LTTE, the Sri Lankan army said last week that the 95 percent of the war against the LTTE is over and the rebels are now confined to a 300 sq km area in the north-eastern Mullaitivu district holding thousands of civilians as human shield.
Tags: artillery gun, attack craft, coastal belt, defence ministry, elephant pass, firing ranges, heavy weapon, janaka, kilinochchi, liberation tigers of tamil eelam, mannar, mullaitivu, operational condition, range artillery, range weapon, sri lanka colombo, sri lankan troops, tamil tiger rebels, total disarray, underwater vehicle