Sri Lanka seize 18 vehicles in Jaffna area carrying explosives

May 28, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lankan police Sunday detained the drivers of 18 vehicles trying to smuggle explosives across a de facto frontier post into the government-controlled part of the Jaffna peninsula, officials said. The private vehicles were stopped at the Muhamalai checkpoint after dogs sniffed out plastic explosives during a routine check, a military official said on condition of anonymity.

“We have handed over the vehicles and the passengers to the police,” said the officer in Jaffna, 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of Colombo. “Every vehicle had small quantities of C-4 type plastic explosives.”

The suspects together with the vehicles were handed over to local police for further investigation.

Passengers were freed but the drivers and the vehicles were detained, police said.

There have been a spate of Claymore mine attacks against troops and police in the Jaffna peninsula as well as elsewhere in the restive north and east. At least 600 people have been killed in a surge of violence since December despite a truce in place since February 2002.