Sept 4 (AFP) – Sri Lankan troops Monday captured an eastern coastal town used by Tiger rebels to launch artillery attacks against the strategic naval port of Trincomalee, a government minister told AFP. Security forces moved into Sampur, 10 kilometers (six miles) across the Koddiya Bay from the Trincomalee naval and air complex, with hardly any resistance, Policy Planning Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said.
“We captured the main Sampur artillery position of the Tigers,” said Rambukwella who is also the government’s defence spokesman. “We suspect they dismantled the guns or pulled them back. We are now in Sampur.”
He said troops moved in Monday after a lull in fighting Sunday.
However, a soldier was killed and several others wounded in an overnight mortar bomb attack against security forces in the area, military officials said.
The military had virtually suspended a ground advance towards Sampur at the weekend following weeks of fighting after intense rebel resistance.
But the air force pounded the area using Israeli-built Kfir fighter jets clearing the way for ground troops to walk in, officials said.
“Troops are now engaged in clearing operations,” Rambukwella said. “The only