MoD attempts to play down daring raid
[TamilNet, Friday, 14 November 1997, 23:59 GMT]
The Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence tried to explain away the daring attack on the Kelanitissa power station as a fire caused by a leaking fuel tank, in a communique it put out this morning. MoD spokesman, Brig. Sarath Munasinghe denied an attack had taken even place till late in the morning.
But private TV stations in the city showed security forces personnel at the scene displaying some of the magnetic explosive charges that has been attached to the tanks.
The Maharajah TV showed the place where the attackers had cut through the high security mesh which surrounds the power plant.
However, later this afternoon, the MoD put out another communique, quite clearly intended to repair the credibility damage caused by the first one.
The second communique stated "A very small group of LTTE terrorists had fixed explosive devices designed to set off automatically on the fuel storage tanks of the Kelanitissa power station. The fuel storage tanks are situated to the rear of the power station."
"Some of these explosive devices had exploded around 5 a.m. today, creating small holes about 1.5 inches in diameter. This resulted in the leakage of fuel from the storage tanks."
The communique also says that "one and a half" bowser loads" of fuel was lost and that prompt action was taken to put out the fire which broke out as a result of the explosion.
A curious but ironic typo in the communique's concluding remark gives an interesting twist to the whole affair. It reads " the terrorists sailed in their attempt to destroy the power station".
"That explains a lot" said a foreign correspondent who received the MoD's second communique.