Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Sri Lanka capital sealed off amid fears of Tiger attack

Sri Lanka capital sealed off amid fears of Tiger attack

Police and security forces sealed off Sri Lanka's capital yesterday, searching every vehicle entering and leaving the city amid fears of a Tamil Tiger attack, officials said.
There were huge traffic jams at every entry point to Colombo with motorists spending several hours before they could be allowed in. Doctors and others essential services were also stuck at roadblocks.
"This is part of the operations to prevent Tigers getting into the city," a police official said, adding no arrests were made during the three-hour operation.
The extraordinary security measure came as Sri Lankans prepared to watch their team play Australia in the finals of cricket World Cup in Barbados late yesterday.
The latest moves followed heightened security in the capital after defense ministry reports that Tamil Tiger guerrillas had entered the air space of the island's only international airport overnight on Thursday.
The sky over the Katunayake international airport near Colombo - where government war planes share a runway with civilian jets - was lit up with anti-aircraft gunfire in response to the incursion by a "suspicious aircraft."
Electricity to the capital was switched off so potential targets would not be illuminated.
The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who have been fighting the government for 35 years and run a mini-state in the north of the island, bombed the Katunayake air base a month ago in their first ever air strike.
The separatists staged a second air raid on the Palaly military complex in the north early on Tuesday.
The following day the Tigers held their fire while Sri Lanka beat New Zealand to qualify for yesterday's finals.
However, security forces in the northern and eastern regions were told to step up their alert yesterday amid fears the Tigers could strike later in the day while attention was riveted on the cricket telecast, police said.
Sri Lanka's state-run Rupavahini television station said more than 14 million people out of the 19.5 million population were expected to watch the live broadcast of the finals.
"Senior officers in the operational areas have been told to maintain maximum alert today (Saturday)," a police spokesman here said. "They must ensure that the men under them do not abandon their posts to go and watch the cricket."
The tightened security came as security forces shot dead two suspected Tamil Tiger rebels across a defense line on Friday in the island's north, the defense ministry said.
The guerrillas were travelling in a vehicle when troops opened fire at them, it said. The attack came after the Tigers shot dead three naval troops in the northeast of the island on Friday.
More than 60,000 people have been killed in Sri Lanka's long-running Tamil separatist conflict.
A 2002 Norwegian-brokered truce is in shreds with more than 4,000 people killed in a new wave of fighting since December 2005.


Updated : 2021-05-12 20:37 GMT+08:00