Sea mine laying rebels netted in Sri Lanka: police

June 17, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lankan police Saturday arrested five suspected Tamil Tiger frogmen who were laying mines along a strategic sea lane used by naval craft, police chief Chandra Fernando said. The inspector general of police said information from local residents helped them to make the arrest of the frogmen laying a locally produced version of limpet mines that magnetically attach to the hull of vessels.

“They were on a suicidal mission to lay the mine,” Fernando told reporters here. “When we tried to arrest two of them, they swallowed cyanide and tried to commit suicide. They are now in hospital.”

Hospital sources said one of them succumbed to his injuries while police maintained they were questioning the others who were believed to be members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) seagoing wing known as Sea Tigers.

Two of the sea mines exploded prematurely without causing any harm, Fernando said. Officials said the Tiger mine laying was detected away from international shipping lanes and there was no threat to merchant shipping.