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IOC facility hit in Tiger air raid

The Kolonnawa oil storage tank is jointly owned by the Sri Lankan government and the IOC. The fuel distribution facility is run by Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals Ltd (CPSTL), which is 33 per cent-owned by Lanka IOC, a unit of the IOC. The rest is owned by Sri Lanka government’s Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC). Shell Gas Lanka Ltd is part of Netherland’s Royal Dutch/ Shell Group.

Colombo, April 29
At least two light wing aircraft of Tamil Tiger rebels carried out pre-dawn air attacks in and around Colombo, targeting two oil storage facilities, including one jointly owned by the Indian Oil Corporation and the Sri Lankan government.

After the attacks, the raiders returned to their hideouts in the rebel-held Wanni region.

The Tigers first hit a petroleum facility in Kolonnawa and later targeted a liquefied petroleum gas storage terminal in Muturajawela.

The Kolonnawa storage tanks are jointly owned by the IOC and the Sri Lankan government since 2002, officials said.

“It is a very bad thing, whether the company is owned by the Indian government or Sri Lanka,” Lanka IOC managing director K. Ramakrishnan said.

“Fortunately nothing much happened and we will be operating without any disturbance.” Shell Gas Lanka Ltd owns the other LPG facility that was hit in the attacks.

“Two oil storages that supply fuel to the Sri Lanka air force (SLAF) bombers were attacked by the Tamileelam air force,” the pro-LTTE website, Tamilnet quoted LTTE’s military spokesperson Irasiah Ilanthirayan as saying.

According to the spokesperson, the oil and fuel storages were attacked by the light wing aircraft during early hours of today in retaliation to the midnight air raid by the Sri Lankan supersonic jets.

“The air strike by the Tigers was carried out after Sri Lankan air force bombers bombed Wanni around 1 am local time,” the spokesperson said.

People in the capital and suburbs were in panic when defence authorities cut off the power supply and started firing in air after activating the air defence system in many strategic locations.

The defence ministry in a report confirmed the LTTE air strikes in Colombo shortly after midnight and said the Sri Lanka air force activated its air defence systems in Colombo and Katunayake after spotting the flying Tigers around 1.45 am.

“Air force sources said the air defence system was activated immediately after a suspicious LTTE aircraft were detected by the air defence radar systems. They further said the suspected LTTE aircraft had dropped four improvised bombs into the Kolonnawa and Muthurajawela areas,” the defence ministry report said.

It, however, claimed that the two bombs dropped in Kolonnawa caused no damages as they failed to explode.

One of the two bombs that was dropped in the Muthurajawela area caused minor damages to the fire guard equipment of a gas company whilst the other caused damages to a water supply, the defence ministry said. — UNI, PTI




LTTE killed Indian fishermen: Police
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, April 29
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi is in a spot over the LTTE. Only a day after he stated: “In reality, the LTTE are not here. They have no work here. Their aims and approach are something different,” the Tamil Nadu police dramatically revealed that the LTTE was very much active and kicking even within Indian territorial waters and killing Indian fishermen.

In its revelation, the state police said it was the LTTE that killed five Indian fishermen off the coast of Kanyakumari on March 29. This is the first time that the LTTE has been accused of killing Indians since the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

Tamil Nadu director general of police D. Mukherjee said a group of “Sea Tigers” - members of the naval wing of the LTTE - had shot dead the fishermen as they suspected that they were spying on their activities, while the LTTE men were engaged in ferrying arms and ammunition from one of their ships to the Sri Lankan coast.

The police chief also said it was the “Sea Tigers” who had abducted 12 fishermen missing since March 4, and that the fishermen were still in the custody of the LTTE.

The disclosure comes in the wake of persistent attempts by political parties in the state to blame the Sri Lankan navy for the firing incident.

On March 29, five fishermen were killed in Indian waters south of Kanyakumari and west of Kalpitiya in Sri Lanka when unidentified persons on a civilian boat opened fire on them without identifying themselves.

This had led to the allegations that the Lankan navy had fired on fishermen from the coastal district.

However, authorities were clear that this was different from other incidents in the Palk Bay area, where Indian fishermen are fired upon after they transgress into the Lankan territorial waters.

In the Kanyakumari case, it was in the Wadge Bank area in Indian waters, far away from the routine area of operations of the Lankan navy.

Also, a civilian ship, “Maria”, was involved, and the assailants, according to the testimony of surviving fishermen, were youngsters who wore civilian clothing, or were bare-chested.

Karunanidhi himself revealed the details in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh the next day and sought an investigation into the “identity of the killers” and their “international connections”.

The police finding came in a fortuitous way, after the Coast Guard found “Maria” adrift on the Indian waters on April 11. The Coast Guard had rounded up a group of Indian and Lankan fishermen.

The police, after an initial investigation, had inferred that the vessel was not the one used in the firing on March 29.

However, the six Lankan Tamils were taken into police custody on April 20. The case was transferred to the “Q” CID, a police unit specialising in extremist-related case. On interrogation, the police found out that all six were members of the “Sea Tigers”, the police chief said.



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