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Sri Lanka troops unearth over a tonne of bombs: official

Sri Lankan troops have uncovered one of their biggest hauls of weapons and explosives since the defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels two months ago, military officials said on Friday.

world Updated: Jul 17, 2009 16:29 IST

Sri Lankan troops have uncovered one of their biggest hauls of weapons and explosives since the defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels two months ago, military officials said on Friday.

Troops found 332 roadside bombs in the northeastern district of Mullaittivu where Tamil Tiger supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran put up his last stand in May, a military official said.

He said the bombs weighing up to 18 kilos (40 pounds) were found at the village of Vellamullivaikal, a coastal area where the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leadership was holed up in the final stages of the war.

"We have also found huge quantities of ammunition for automatic assault rifles and mortar bombs," a military official said.

He said the discoveries made on Thursday, which weighed over a tonne, constituted the largest haul since the government's recent victory over the Tiger rebels ended decades of ethnic conflict.

Sri Lanka's former army chief General Sarath Fonseka announced Wednesday that the government had scrapped a 200-million-dollar ammunition order from China after the defeat of the Tigers.

"We had ordered about 200 million dollars of heavy ammunition from China," Fonseka told local reporters after taking office as the new chief of defence staff. "There is no need for such ammunition any more."

Sri Lanka relied heavily on China and Pakistan for mortar bombs and ammunition for multi-barrel rocket launchers in the battle against the Tigers.