Military accuses Tamil rebels of truce breach in north Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's military on Thursday accused the Tamil Tiger rebels of violating their fragile four-year-old cease-fire after soldiers uncovered hauls of ammunition and weapons in the country's north.

The caches, including three grenade launchers, 13 live magazines for T-56 rifles and some hand grenades, were discovered in Karaweddi and Tellippalai, predominantly Tamil but government-controlled districts of Jaffna Peninsula on Tuesday and Wednesday, military spokesman Brig. Sudhir Samarasinghe said.

The weapons and ammunition most likely belong to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Samarasinghe said, adding that this amounted to a clear violation of the 2002 cease-fire that halted nearly two decades of civil war in Sri Lanka.

Under the Norwegian-brokered truce, the rebels are barred from carrying or transporting weapons to or through government-controlled areas.

"There is no other group operating in the area other than the LTTE. If they had brought the grenades and hidden them, it is definitely a cease-fire violation," Samarasinghe said.

Although unable to immediately confirm the report, independent truce monitors warned that the rebels may have breached the agreement.

"We are checking on the details, but if the weapons were found in areas under the control of the Sri Lankan army then it is a violation of the cease-fire," said Helen Olafsdottir, a spokeswoman for a European cease-fire monitoring team.

Jaffna is located 300 kilometers (185 miles) north of the capital Colombo, reports the AP.


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