Ministry: Army finds rebel suicide-bomb factory in north Sri Lanka

Other News Materials 26 February 2009 13:15 (UTC +04:00)

Government troops advancing into the final stronghold of Tamil separatist rebels have found a suicide bomb-making plant in northern Sri Lanka, the Defence Ministry said Thursday.

The plant, located in Pudukudirippu, 385 kilometres north-east of Colombo, was also reported to manufacture claymore mines, improvised explosive devices and anti-personnel mines, the ministry said.

Government troops entered the area amid heavy resistance from Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels, the army said.

A military spokesman said the rebels suffered heavy casualties and at least four bodies were found along with their weapons, reported dpa.

Bordering the bomb-manufacturing yard, another rebel camp - believed to be used by Susai, the head of the Sea Tigers, the LTTE's naval unit - was destroyed by air force bombs.

Government troops are fighting their way into the last strongholds of the rebels in the north-eastern part of the country after confining them to an area of less than 80 square kilometres.

 Early last year, the government retook all of the Eastern Province from the LTTE and since then has focused on the north.

The LTTE has fought for more than 25 years for a separate state for the Tamil ethnic minority in the northern and eastern parts of majority-Sinhalese Sri Lanka.

According to the army, at least 12,000 rebels and 3,5000 soldiers have been killed since the start of the latest campaign in August 2006.