Claymore mines: ‘Awful’ weapon of Sri Lanka’s rebels

TRINCOMALEE, Sri Lanka, May 8, 2006 (AFP) – Sweat glistens on the faces of Sri Lankan army soldiers in the early-morning heat as they search the edges of a red-dirt road for the weapon that is increasingly killing them

Since December, suspected Tamil Tiger rebels have exploded dozens of Claymore mines, Scandinavian truce monitors say, in attacks that often cause multiple casualties not just among the military but also among civilians.

“It’s very effective and it can be handled by one person,” said a member of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) overseeing a 2002 truce that is tenuously holding despite the escalating Claymore bombings and other violence.

“It’s an awful one, a nasty one,” said the monitor in this northeastern port district which is home to a key naval base.

On May 1 four civilians and a naval patrolman died when a Claymore rigged to a bicycle exploded to target a navy foot patrol in Trincomalee town, the military said. Eight other people, half of them naval troops, were wounded.

The rebels and government reached a ceasefire in 2002 but violence began to worsen last December, partly because of the emergence of Claymores.

Last month was the deadliest since the truce w