Tigers’ arsenal amazes Army
Seven 152 mm artillery pieces, 42 thermobaric weapons, 13,240 T-56 assault rifles, among many other arms seized

A part of LTTE arsenal displayed on the Vanni east front shortly before Prabhakaran’s death. Pic Dimuthu Premaratne

Sri Lankan forces yesterday said that 24 four barrelled 14.5 mm anti-aircraft guns of Chinese origin (ZPU 4) had been among arms and ammunition worth millions of US dollars recovered by troops during Eelam War IV.

They said that the mobile guns had been acquired along with a range of other armaments from China producing North Korean and Eritrean end-user-certificates.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa recently said at a public meeting that he felt that the LTTE collected such a large stock of lethal weapons to use against some other country.

The then Army Chief General Sarath Fonseka on his first visit to Vellimullivaikkal after the annihilation of the top terrorist leadership said that unlike the successful anti-terror campaign in Malaysia in the 50s against men armed with 303 rifles, his troops had fought an enemy with a vast range of weapons at its disposal.

An authoritative official told The Island yesterday that troops had so far recovered seven 152 mm artillery pieces, nine 130 mm artillery pieces, six 122 mm artillery pieces, fifty four 120 mm mortars, three six barrelled multi barrel rocket launchers, 11 surface-to-air-missiles, 8 recoilless weapons, 45 rocket launchers, two 85 mm mortars, thirty eight 82 mm mortars, one hundred and thirty 81 mm mortars, four hundred and seventy nine 60 mm mortars, 64 commando mortars, 45 locally manufactured ‘Baba’ mortars, 55 disposable rocket propelled grenades, 579 rocket propelled grenades, 42 thermobaric weapons, two hundred and ten 40 mm grenade launchers, 14 missile launchers, six 23 mm twin barrelled guns, ninety one 12.7 anti-aircraft

guns, fourteen 0.5 weapons, 44 General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMG), 247 Multi Purpose Machine Guns (MPMG), 432 T-56 (Light Machine Guns), 13,240 T-56 assault rifles, 351 T -81 rifles,172 G3A3 rifles, 101 AK-47 assault rifles, 60 FNC weapons, 40 M-16 assault rifles, seventeen 5.56 weapons, 74 self loading rifles, 15 gas weapons, 18 guns fitted with silencers, 72 sub machine guns, fifteen .22 weapons, 10 mini Uzi guns, 126 shot guns, 365 9mm pistols, 27 sniper weapons and 83 micro pistols.

The military said that though the entire range of artillery, mortars, T-56 assault rifles as well as mobile anti-aircraft were of Chinese origin, the LTTE arsenal included US, Israeli, Russian and Belgium armaments acquired from other sources.

Sources said that security forces and police had also recovered almost 10,000 kilos of explosives, detonators and steel balls of Indian origin during the past three years. Although the navy had destroyed a dozen LTTE merchant ships in over a decade, eight of them under former Navy Commander Admiral Vasantha Karannagoda’s leadership and dozens of trawlers, the LTTE had brought large quantities of arms and ammunition. Sources said that while large consignments of arms had been unloaded on the Mullaitivu beach, relatively smaller stocks had come through the Gulf of Mannar.

The army said that troops had also recovered a large quantity of mines, a range of ammunition, including artillery and chemicals. The LTTE is also alleged to have brought aviation gasoline from India. The LTTE also had sophisticated communication equipment, including some of British make as well as Japanese radar on its fast attack craft and 250 horse power Japanese outboard mortars.

Sources said that the army and navy had recovered a range of boats, including submersibles and suicide craft and state-of-the art tools and machinery needed to turn out lethal weapons. Sources said that the army had recently given the navy access to all Sea Tiger assets captured by troops.

Large stocks of arms and ammunition as well as barrels containing fuel had been buried east of the A9 as the LTTE believed the multi-pronged army offensive would collapse at Kilinochchi. Sources said that the enemy had planned to go on an all out offensive once the offensive had collapsed outside Kilinochchi.

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