Sri Lankan 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 Police — succeeded in arresting several suspects and recovering a large cache of arms, ammunition, explosives, detonators, swords, det chords, gelignite sticks, warlike items, in the eastern part of the island. Also found was a detailed map of the ancient Seruwawila Buddhist temple.
According to the government, joint security forces launched surprise cordon and search operations in the general area of Sammanthurai town on Wednesday 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.
Similarly, following intelligence received from the public, Wednesday evening security forces seized 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).
Other searches resulting in the recovering of 2 air rifles, 5 swords, 3 suspicious motor bikes, 1 locally-made rifle, and a map of the ancient Seruwawila Buddhist temple. Troops arrested two suspects in this connection.
In separate searches in Kegalle region, security forces seized 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. Several suspects were arrested by the Army and handed over to the Police for further investigations.
The government said that 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 to restore normalcy, law and order after clearing explosives and “warlike items” from suspicious places in respective areas. In the past 24 hours, the detection of several explosive items were reported from the East and Kotiyakumbura in Kegalle.
Navy Spokesman Lieutenant Commander Isuru Sooriyabandara said that Naval troops recovered 5 shotguns, 59 ammunition rounds and apprehended five suspects in addition to another suspect, keeping videos, related to Islamic Extremism in their possession.
The Navy also recovered two water gel sticks and 4 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, the Navy spokesman 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.