01st May 2019 17:14:08 Hours
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.