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SLAF UAV makes emergency landing in Anuradhapura

An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) on a reconnaissance mission over the Vanni region has made an emergency landing near Nuwarawewa in Anuradhapura on Friday morning as a result of a technical failure, an SLAF spokesman said.

"We are investigating the incident and possible cases for the technical failure," SLAF spokesman Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara told The Sunday Island.

This was the second recent accident involving SLAF aircraft. A few weeks ago, a MIG 27 returning from a bombing mission went off the runaway suffering substantial damage.

Although, the aircraft is serviceable, its re-deployment could take some time, an official said.

The SLAF has stepped-up operations in support of the army as troops battled LTTE units on four different fronts in the Vanni. The army has committed four fighting formations (Task Force I, 57 Division, Task Force II and 59 Division) to conduct operations.

While three of the formations are deployed west of the A9 road, the 59 Division is operating east of the road, an army spokesman said.

Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, the military spokesman, yesterday said helicopter gunships Friday midnight engaged an LTTE radar point at Nagathevanthurai, Pooneryn. The targeted facility had been one of the points used to monitor security forces based in the Jaffna peninsula.

The raid on Nagathevanthurai by Mi-24s was followed by an attack on a key LTTE Intelligence Wing base situated north of Puthukkudiyirrippu in the Mullaitivu district.

The SLAF spokesman said Saturday’s attack carried out at 9.55 a.m. was the first on that particular target. Five minutes later jets launched from Katunayake air base zeroed on an LTTE camp north-east of Viswamadukulam tank in the Mullaittiuvu district. (SF)

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