In what could well be the biggest seizure of deadly explosives from the LTTE to date, the Sri Lankan Army on Tuesday found 690 kg of C-4 in an abandoned house in Ariyalai in Jaffna district, thanks to information provided by a local Tamil civilian.
Army spokesman, Brig Prasad Samarasinghe, told the media Colombo on Wednesday, that the C-4 was packed in 30 boxes wrapped in polythene.
Giving an idea of the destructive capability of the C-4, Defence Spokesman Kehliya Rambukwella said that the quantity seized was enough to blow up the whole of Jaffna.
"Seventy-five kg had brought down the Central Bank building (in Colombo in 1996)," he recalled.
"The explosives had been brought into Jaffna from the Wanni before the A9 highway was closed," Brig Samarasinghe said, suggesting that the closure of the entry/exit point at Muhamalai, south of Jaffna, was warranted.
The three Sinhala journalists who were recently arrested for trying to carry out subversive activities at the instance of the LTTE, had been given C-4 by the LTTE, he added.
The LTTE is believed to be stockpiling huge quantities of explosives and munitions in Jaffna, in preparation for an imminent Sri Lankan Army offensive to capture Elephant Pass from the Muhamalai side.
Meanwhile, Major Manamendra Dissanayake ,who was caught spying for the LTTE a couple of months ago, told a Colombo court on Tuesday, that he had secured SLRs 40 million through an extortion racket, apart from getting money from the LTTE.
Justice Bhagwati panel meets
A 16-member international Group of Eminent Persons had met in Colombo on February 12 and 13 under the chairmanship of the former Chief Justice of India, PN Bhagwati, to look into three striking cases of human rights violation in Sri Lanka in recent times.
Defence Spokesman Rambukwella said that the three cases were: (1) the assassination of former Foreign Minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar, allegedly by the LTTE in 2005;
(2) the execution-style killing of 17 Tamil workers belonging to the French aid agency "Action Against Hunger" in Mutur in the eastern district of Trincomalee, allegedly by the Sri Lankan Security Forces, in 2006;
(3) the killing of Muslims of Mutur by the LTTE, in 2006.
Rambukwella said that the Group of Eminent Persons was expected to submit a report on the three cases in a few weeks.
The GEP was appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa following complaints in the international community that the Sri Lankan panel headed by Mahanama Tilakaratne, did not enjoy credibility.
Of the three cases, the killing of the aid workers had especially shaken the Western world.