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14 Sri Lankans arrested in capital among security alert
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20:00, August 24, 2007

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A high security alert for possible Tamil Tiger rebel strikes in an immediate suburb of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo had led to the arrest of 14 people on suspicion, the police said Friday.

A joint army and police search was launched between 4 p.m. local time (1030 GMT) to 6 p.m. local time (1230 GMT) Thursday at Nugegoda, a popular residential suburb east of here.

"The search was subjected to over 2,300 people, 40 vehicles and over 200 trade establishments," a police spokesman said.

Some 14 people including two Tamils and 12 Sinhalese had been arrested, the police said.

The search was conducted on information that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) may carry out a bomb explosion in and around Nugegoda area.

Frequent security searches on vehicles and people are conducted at random in the city in order to prevent infiltration of LTTE members into the city from the north and east.

The government claims that LTTE rebels are desperate for an attack in the capital after the troops had evicted them from Eastern Province.

The entire Eastern Province was brought under troops control in mid-July with the fall of Thoppigala, a main jungle training base for the LTTE in the eastern Batticaloa district.

However, the rebels claimed that they had withdrawn from Eastern Province for tactical reasons.

The LTTE has been fighting the government since the mid-1980s to establish a separate homeland for the minority Tamils in the north and east claiming discrimination at the hands of the Sinhala majority.

Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the island's separatist armed conflict during the last two decades.

Source: Xinhua

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