[MOD/ May 02 2019] Combined search operations are continuing in many parts of the country after security measures were tightened in the aftermath of the deadly Easter Sunday suicide bombings. Army troops involved in search operations with other services and Police have arrested several suspects and recovered arms, ammunitions and explosives. According to Army media, these search operations had been conducted in Serunuwara, Sammanthurai, Eravur, Kalmunai, etc in the East and Kotiyakumbura, Kegalle under the Security Force Headquarters-West by yesterday afternoon (01 May).
During a cordon and search operation in the Sammanthurai town area troops were able to recover items including 200 gelignite sticks, service threads, 200 detonators, 2 pistols, pistol ammunitions, 1 T-56 magazine and 170 rounds of ammunition, ammonia packets.
A search operation carried out in the general area of Eravur after information received from the public, troops recovered six T-56 Magazines, 362 rounds of T-56 ammunition, one round of General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) ammunition, 2 hand grenades (unserviceable) two knives and an unserviceable sword. Two Air rifles, 5 swords, 3 suspicious motor bikes, one locally-made rifle and a map of the ancient Seruwawila Buddhist temple were among the items recovered from a search operation carried out in the general areas of Wan Ela and Serunuwara.
Troops found 11 petrol bombs, 2 Walkie-talkies, 16 passports, 9 knives, 12 mobile phones, 4 WiFi routers, 2 hand grenades, 8 hand axes, 3 swords, 1 Nanchaku, 1 binocular, 1 GPS and the trouser of an Army-like desert combat kit general area of Kotiyakumbura, Kegalle. Several suspects were arrested and handed over to the Police for further investigations.
According to Navy media, three suspects have been arrested during search operations conducted in the past couple of days. During a search operation in Erakkandi town and beach area on 27th April, a suspect was taken into custody with explosives materials. 16 water gel sticks, 160 non electric detonators, 60 pieces of safety fuses (each about 12.5ft in length) and a motorcycle were seized during the search operations conducted at the Erakkandi town area.
Meanwhile, 48 water gel sticks, 55 non electric detonators and 34 pieces of safety fuses (each about 14.5ft in length) had been found during a search conducted in the Erakkandi beach area. One water gel tube, 05 non electric detonators and a safety fuse were recovered by naval troops during a foot patrol in Jinnapuram. Two suspects were arrested with 05 non electric detonators and 53m long safety fuses, during a search of a kiosk near the Hadaoya Bridge in Pottuvil, Panama.
Search operation carried out by the Air Force in Mullachchikulam, Keeriyankalli resulted in the arrest of 17 suspects and had recovered a large amount of extremist literature, mobile phones and computer equipment. One person was arrested at another search operation carried out at Mudranala Watta in Kanuwana.
In the meantime, the annual feast of the St Joseph’s Church in Thannamunai, Batticaloa was held with security being provided by the Army. More than 800 devotees and 125 Catholic priests were present at the feast.
Sri Lanka Army gives more details on on going military operations.
East & West Troops Find Record Stocks of Weapons, Explosives from Eravur, Sammanthurai, Wan Ela, Serunuwara & Kotiyakumbura.
Army troops across the country while focusing their attention largely on Muslim-dominated concentrations during their intensified search and clear operations conducted in the past 12 hours in close coordination with sister services and Policemen succeeded in arresting several suspects and recovering a large cache of arms, ammunition, explosives, detonators, swords, det chords, gelignite sticks, warlike items and a detailed map of the ancient Seruwawila Buddhist temple from respective areas in Serunuwara, Sammanthurai, Eravur, Kalmunai, etc in the East and Kotiyakumbura, Kegalle under the Security Force Headquarters-West by Wednesday (1) afternoon.
23 Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment (SLSR), 3 Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment (VIR), 8 Sri Lanka National Guard (SLNG) and 11 SLNG troops of the 24 Division, headquartered in Ampara under the Security Force Headquarters – East (SFHQ-E) launched surprise cordon and search operations in the general area of Sammanthurai town this morning (1) and recovered 200 gelignite sticks, 1 sword, 40 metres of service threads, 200 detonators, 2 pistols, 20 rounds of pistol ammunition, 1 T-56 magazine, 170 rounds of T-56 ammunition, 4 ammonia packets of 25 kg each and 1 oil bottle. The operation was closely monitored by Major General Mahinda Mudalige, General Officer Commanding, 24 Division under the guidance of Major General Aruna Jayasekera, Commander, Security Forces – East.
Similarly, troops of the Security Force Headquarters – East (SFHQ-E) and the 231 Brigade jointly continued their search and clear operations in the general area of Eravur this evening (1) following intelligence received from the peace-loving public. During the quickly-launched operation, 231 Brigade troops detected six T-56 Magazines, 362 rounds of T-56 ammunition, 1 round of General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) ammunition, 2 knives, 1 sword (unserviceable) and 2 hand grenades (unserviceable). 4 Gemunu Watch (GW) troops and 10 Gajaba Regiment (GR) troops of the 231 Brigade took part in this sudden cordon search operation.
In the same manner, 222 Brigade troops prioritizing national security concerns also carried out simultaneous cordon search operations in the general areas of Wan Ela and Serunuwara. Following items were recovered during those operations: 2 Air rifles, 5 swords, 3 suspicious motor bikes, 1 locally-made rifle, a map of the ancient Seruwawila Buddhist temple. Troops arrested two suspects in this connection. 5 Sri Lanka Artillery (SLA) and 22 VIR troops of the 222 Brigade participated in this operation which lasted for more than six hours.
Meanwhile, troops of 8 SLSR in the 58 Division and the Security Force Headquarters – West (SFHQ-West) in combined cordon and search operations in the general area of Kotiyakumbura, Kegalle found 11 petrol bombs, 2 Walkie-talkies, 16 Passports, 9 knives, 12 mobile phones, 4 WiFi routers, 2 Hand Grenades, 8 Hand Axes, 3 Swords, 1 Nanchakku, 1 Binocular, 1 GPS and the trouser of an Army-like desert combat kit. Several suspects were arrested by the Army and handed over to the Police for further investigations.
All security measures by way of conduct of sudden roadblocks, vehicle checks, raids on suspicious spots, screening of certain locations, etc are underway in full swing under the supervision of the Commander of the Army, Overall Operations Command, respective Commanders in SFHQ-West and SFHQ-East.
According to Military Spokesman, Brigadier Sumith Atapattu, Army troops are fully committed in carrying out search and cordon operations all over the country in order to restore normalcy, law and order after clearing explosives and warlike items from suspicious places in respective areas. In the past 24 hours, several detections of those explosive items were reported from the East and Kotiyakumbura in Kegalle.
Navy Spokesman Lieutenant Commander Isuru Sooriyabandara said that Naval troops recovered 05 shot guns, 59 ammunition rounds and apprehended five suspects in addition to another suspect, keeping videos, related to Islamic Extremism in his possession. The Navy would like to urge the public to inform Security Forces and the Police immediately of anyone who is engaged in propagation of Islamic Extremism or violence.
The Navy also recovered two water gel sticks and 04 detonators during a search operation in Pulmudai, which were used for illegal fishing. The same water gel sticks were observed in recent arrests made by the Security Forces in Samanthurai, he claimed.
Air Force Spokesman Group Captain Gihan Senevirathne said Sri Lanka Air Force continuing their cordon and search operations in cooperation with Policemen and Army troops at Mullachchikulam and Keeriyankalli areas resulted in the arrest of 17 suspects. Palavi-based seamen contributed to the operations.
Further, cordon and search operations were conducted in Etampitiya, Bandarawela, Kalpitiya, Enderamulla, Akbar town, Abhayapura in Anuradhapura and Gunasinghapura areas in Pettah by Colombo- based airmen.