ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday October 7, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 19

Reports of low flying planes: Colombo on alert

By Asif Fuard

The reported sighting of two suspected LTTE light aircraft in Tantirimale near Anuradhapura on Friday night is being probed by the Defence Ministry, after a scare set off by it led to key areas in Colombo being put on full alert. Anuradhapura District Senior Superintendent Macarthy Perera told The Sunday Times the Defence Ministry team was coming to the area to probe the reported sighting of the low-flying planes.

He said residents who reported the sighting had been interviewed and more details were being sought. The Sunday Times learns that in the wake of the Tantirimale reports, several high-rise buildings in Colombo were asked to switch of their exterior lights to thwart any possible attack.

The Colombo Port, the Bandaranaike International Airport and the Shell Gas facility in Kerawalapitiya were also put on full alert. World Trade Centre Aruni Wickremasinghe who said they complied with the order and switched off exterior lights for about two hours till the defence authorities gave the all-clear signal.

BIA’s Senior Security Marshal K.G. Perera said all precautions were taken with passenger safety being given priority. However Air Force Spokesperson Ajantha Silva denied the incident.

“There was no such incident. If there was such a sighting I would be informed about it,” Group Captain Silva said. Meanwhile residents around the Shell Gas facility in Kerawalapitiya have been warned of a possible infiltration by LTTE suspects. Residents said army and the police officers were conducting regular search operations in the area around the gas facility which was the target of LTTE air attack on April 29.

They said area residents had been warned by the police not to give rooms on rent or even temporary shelter to people from the north and east.

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