Sri Lanka troops find mine on airport road

April 5, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lankan security forces on Thursday found a powerful landmine in a shop along the main road to the island’s only international airport, police said. Over 60,000 people have since been killed in the Tamil separatist conflict and diplomatic attempts to bring the warring factions to the negotiating table have ended in failure. The “Claymore” mine, a type frequently used for roadside attacks, was found at a shop in Wattala, just outside the capital and along the main highway to Bandaranaike international airport, a police official said.

“The Claymore was found following a tip off,” the spokesman said. “It was hidden and not ready to be exploded. We have taken into custody five people after the bomb was found.”

The discovery was made as President Mahinda Rajapakse returned to the island early Thursday after attending a South Asian summit in New Delhi.

However the president travelled to the city, a distance of 35 kilometres (20 miles), by helicopter, a spokesman for the president’s office said.

Last week, Tamil Tiger rebels flew light aircraft and bombed the country’s main air base located adjoining the international airport and escaped