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Police defuse land-mine in Wellawatte

Charlemont road that runs by the side of the Savoy theatre joins the Marine Drive road at its other end near the Kinross swimming club. There is a bridge over the Wellawatte canal near this spot where the Colombo- Matara dual railway lines run over the bridge.

From a security point of view the bridge is a vulnerable spot as several passenger trains pass over daily. However the chance discovery of a 15 kilo claymore mines found near a waste dump adjacent to the bridge had sent ripples through the defence establishment. It was a terrifying experience for the police as land mine were never found in the Wellawatte area before.

It was the first time that such deadly military hardware had been found. Especially at a time when there had been several deadly explosions in the Colombo city.

Plan to blow the bridge?

Of course there had been several cordon and search operations in the past where suspected LTTE cadres were rounded up when someone was shot dead in the area.

But never have they found landmines. We all know that attempts to smuggle in military hardware in to the Colombo city in the past few months were thwarted by police and the public.

But no one knows for sure whether such explosives have been smuggled during the past few years. Was there a plan to blow up the bridge at Wellawatte by a terrorist outfit last week.? Or was it aimed at a passenger train while it passed over the bridge? Or was it aimed at some VIP driving along the Marine drive or someone promenading on the beach? Was it aimed at some senior Police officers who used to visit the Mess.

The police no doubt will have to find answerers to these queries. They just cannot be complacent about the finding. A thorough investigation is necessary to determine how a powerful land mine weighing 15 kilos was found in a garbage dump. Perhaps someone may have dumped it there during a cordon and search operation.

In fact the sea near the Kinross Swimming club has been a popular bathing spot as far as one could remember.

The other places in the vicinity are restaurants frequented both by tourists and locals alike and of course the Reserve Police Mess for senior officers. OIC Wellawatte Police Chief Inspector Dehideniya and policemen are conducting inquiries to ascertain how the claymore mine was smuggled into Wellawatte.

An imposter?

The discovery was made when a train passenger who had seen a garbage collector near a dump meddling with the claymore mine with its wires jutting out.

The passenger had screamed at the garbage collector not to meddle with it as it could cause an explosion. A team of police officers from Wellawatte that arrived at the scene confirmed who it was an unexploded land mine. The land mine was taken charge by the police along with the garbage collector for questioning.

Of course it is important to know whether he had any prior knowledge about the landmine or whether he was an imposter. Meanwhile Police having obtained a court order defused the land-mine with the help of the Special Task Force (STF) Commanders.



Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service

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