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 Post subject: Explosive lorry nabbed in Nikaweratiya
 Post Posted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 1:56 am 
Explosive lorry nabbed in Nikaweratiya

"The explosives in that truck were enough to blow up half of Colombo. We are told that there is second truck with the same quantity of explosives," - Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake

By Kurulu Kariyakarawana
@ DM / Saturday, June 02, 2007

A Colombo-bound lorry laden with powerful C4 and other explosives driven by two Tamil nationals suspected to be LTTE members was detained by security forces at a road block in Nikaweratiya last evening.

The lorry bearing registration number 41-Sri-3589 was stopped on suspicion and searched at a police road block at Kotawehera police area around 5.30pm yesterday.

Police found powerful explosives weighing 920 kilograms neatly hidden inside the lorry. The military Bomb Disposal Unit was immediately summoned to the scene to examine the lorry.

According to Nikaweratiya police two Tamil nationals believed to be members of the LTTE had been taken into custody along with the vehicle.

The lorry heading towards Colombo had reportedly come from the Kurunegala area, initial investigation revealed.

Special police teams backed by intelligence units are conducting investigations.


How an explosives - laden lorry was stopped and stripped

@ ST / Sunday, June 10, 2007
By Hiran Priyankara Jayasinghe

The alert police officer, whose prompt action led to the detection of the biggest ever haul of explosives in a lorry last Friday was substituting for a sick colleague, when the detection was made at a checkpoint at Kotavehara Palugas junction in Nikeweratiya.

Recalling the events of that day D.H.M.Prematillaka who was manning the checkpoint along with three others said, “Around 3.30 p.m. we noticed a lorry approaching the roadblock and we waved it down. When I asked the driver for the vehicle documents, he handed over a file cover. Inside the cover along with the documents were a few 100 rupee notes and the driver told me in broken Sinhala, ‘sir you keep that with you.

“I had a glance at the documents and they were all in order. I looked at the vehicle and didn’t notice anything unusual. However I felt suspicious as to why the driver was trying to bribe me,” said Sgt Prematillake an officer with years of experience. He had also asked another driver of a lorry who was in the vicinity whether there was anything suspicious in the body of the lorry and his answer was in the negative.

“I then told the others to unload the coconuts that were inside the lorry and I proceeded to check inside the engine, but I didn’t find anything suspicious there either. However I was still suspicious especially since the lorry was travelling from Vavuniya.

“When someone climbed to the top of the lorry and started inspecting it, the driver came close to me and said, ‘sir I told you there is nothing suspicious, please allow us to proceed.’”

“I then used a metal rod to tap at various places and I heard a strange sound. I got a tool from a nearby garage and loosened some of the bolts and noticed some black wire. I again consulted that other driver and I asked him whether it was usual to have such thick wires inside a lorry and he said no it was not usual,” Sgt Prematillake said.

“At this point I noticed the cleaner of the lorry trying to make a get-away. He and the driver were placed under guard and the search proceeded,” he said.

“At this point a young boy who was standing around informed me that his brother who was attached to the bomb squad was at home on leave and he could bring him along. At this point the OIC also joined us and he informed the Puttalam bomb defusing unit.

The army officer who was called in also confirmed that those were explosives,” Sgt. Prematillake said.

Where the boxes packed with eplosives were concealed in the lorry
Investigations have revealed that the lorry may have been intended for a suicide attack on a passing out parade which took place the next day at the Vijayabha army training school in Puttalam. Around 338 soldiers passed out with around 6,000 people in attendance, many of them family members or friends of the recruits. At least 50-60 of these men are to be selected to join the special forces.

A suicide attack in close proximity to where the passing out parade took place would have caused heavy casualties as it is only 50 metres away from the main road, police said.

The lorry was laden with more than 1300 kilograms of C-4 explosives packed inside 42 boxes. Investigations are underway to determine the location where the explosives were packed into the lorry.

The Police Department has decided to reward all those who were involved in the detection while Sgt. Prematilleke will be promoted to the rank of Sub Inspector.

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