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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2614

Sri Lanka appoints committee to investigate Tamil Tiger attack on the Air Force base at Katunayake

Colombo, 27 March, ( A special Committee has been appointed to probe into the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’s air raid on the Sri Lanka Air Force base in Katunayake yesterday early morning.

Addressing the press briefing held at the Media Centre for National Security, Media Minister Anura Priyadarshan Yapa answering to the queries by journalists whether the SLAF air defence system was operational at the time and as to why the LTTE's light aircraft was not shot down, the minister stated that a full scale investigation will be done by the committee to shed light on the sequence of events and the actions initiated by the Air Force in retaliation.

"When investigations are over we will be able to give you more details" Minister Anura Priyadarshna Yapa said.

Addressing the media further, the minister stated that the LTTE specially aimed at the MIG 27s at the base. "Three bombs were dropped but only two exploded. There were no damages on the aircraft. Investigations are still on", Minister Yapa added. The Air Force personnel did a superb job to prevent a major attack on the aircraft, the minister further said.

Three airmen were killed while 16 sustained injuries in the attack.

Air Force media spokesman, Group Captain Ajantha Silva addressing the media stated that the base's air defence system was in operation and that is why a major disaster was averted. Answering questions from the media, Group Captain Ajantha Silva said that details of the air defence system cannot be disclosed due to security reasons.

At the same time Jeyaraj Fernandopulle Minister of Highways & Road Development emphasized that the LTTE's air capability was not only a threat to Sri Lanka but to the whole of south Asian region.

Referring to the LTTE's air attack early yesterday morning, the minister sated that this was the second attack on the SLAF base in Katunayake. In 2001 around 13 aircraft including passenger aircraft were destroyed in the LTTE attack. "The LTTE is the only terrorist group in the world to have air capability" the minister warned.

Minister Fernandopulle stressed, “Countries like India should focus more attention on the LTTE's air capability which is not only a threat to Sri Lanka but to the whole of the south Asian region.”

The Minister also reminded the media that it was during the CFA that the LTTE acquired these aircraft and built its air capability. Several vessels carrying arms and parts of aircraft and other war like material were destroyed during the past, he noted.

Furthermore, Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle addressing media personnel at the briefing said that the government cannot be intimidated by terror attacks such as the LTTE air attack on the Air Force base. The government will proceed ahead with greater resolve to eliminate terrorism from Sri Lanka, the minister added.

Voicing his concern over some media reports in the aftermath of the LTTE air attack, minister Fernandopulle said that the international media tarnished the image of Sri Lanka by projecting misleading information on the attack on the Air Force base. Some foreign media had reported that the Bandaranaike International Air Port adjoining the Air Force base in Katunayake was under attack, the minister charged. There was no damage to the Bandaranaike International Air Port. Operations are back to normal and the flights have resumed, the minister stressed.

Minister Fernandopulle requested media personnel to be more responsible in reporting matters with regard to the security situation in the country as irresponsible reporting can impede upon our economy.

- Asian Tribune -

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