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Home > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Tamil Armed Resistance > Reports of Armed Conflict > Liberation Tigers bomb Fuel Refinery in Kolonnawa near Colombo
Liberation Tigers bomb fuel refinery
28 April 2007
Two oil storages that supply fuel to Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) bombers were attacked by the Tamileelam Air Force - TamilNet, Saturday, 28 April 2007, 22:33 GMT
Tamil Tiger rebels bomb fuel refinery and gasoline storage facility - Krishnan Francis, Associated Press Report, 29 April 2007
Tamil Tiger aircraft bomb key installations in Sri Lanka's capital in retaliation for a military air strike on their territory - AFP Report
சிறிலங்கவின் இரு பிரதான பெற்றோலிய எரிபொருள் களஞ்சியங்கள் மீது வான்புலிகள்
தாக்குதல, ஞாயிற்றுக்கிழமை, 29 ஏப்ரல் 2007
வான்புலிகள் அச்சம்: மீண்டும் இருளில் மூழ்கியது கொழும்பு, ஞாயிற்றுக்கிழமை, 29 ஏப்ரல் 2007
வான்புலிகளின் வானூர்திகள் கொழும்புக்கு வந்து விட்டதாக ஏற்பட்ட அச்சத்தினால்
சிறிலங்கா தலைநகர் கொழும்பு இருளில் மூழ்கியது.
LTTE air raid over Colombo - Tiger aircraft bomb Kolonnawa oil installation
and Muthurajawela gas facility in midnight attack - Sinhala owned Sri Lanka
Sunday Times, 29 April 2007
The night sky was set aglow when security forces fired shots and flares into the air after reports of a suspicious aircraft. Pic: M.A. Pushpakumara
The city of Colombo was brought under a total blackout shortly after midnight today as two Tiger rebel aircraft entered the city to attack targets.
One of the aircraft had dropped bombs at a fuel dump in the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation's (CPC) oil installations in Kolonnawa. Another bomb was reported to have fallen at an LPG gas facility in Muthurajawela, triggering off a large fire. The Colombo Fire Brigade was called in to douse them.
Reports of the intrusion of the LTTE aircraft came as Sri Lankans watched the World Cup cricket finals in Barbados. Whilst a blackout was in force, troops in security forces installations in the city including Army Headquarters, the Air Force Base at Ratmalana and VVIP residence began firing volleys of flares into the sky. The firing from the SLAF base was intense.
The SLAF base at Katunayake also began firing flares and shooting into the sky fearing it was a second attack on the base in two months. Civilian flights were cautioned about these developments over Colombo's skies. Air Force spokesman Group Captain Ajantha Silva said that after receiving information about suspicious aircraft, they activated the air defence system in places such as Air Force headquarters, Colombo harbour, the Kolonnawa Petroleum Distribution Centre, and the Sapugaskanda oil refinery.
The situation caused panic as armed policemen joined in firing into the sky. Explosions were heard in different parts of the city, including Ratmalana, Battaramulla and Kollupitiya causing concern among the public. The blackout was restored only after it was confirmed that the guerrilla aircraft had left. Reports from Mannar later confirmed sighting the aircraft in the skies over Mannar.
Neither Colombo nor Ragama hospitals reported any wounded people seeking treatment following the incident. Shortly after the bombings in Colombo, Air Force jets pounded locations in LTTE-controlled Kilinochchi.
An hour later, there was widespread confusion that the guerrilla aircraft had returned. It turned out to be a commercial airliner.
The pilot is reported to have later complained to airport authorities at Katunayake about the firing. However, the aircraft was not hit.
On the View from Colombo - Wakely Paul from USA, 1 May 2007
Based on telephone conversations with people in Colombo, social life has come to a standstill.
The bombs in Mulkirigalla which set the fuel tanks on fire there, were so loud that most people thought the bombs hit their neighbor’s yards. With the blackout, government guns were fired aimlessly into the air from Colombo to Ratmalana after the planes had completed their bombing mission 10 miles north of the city and departed for their home base. People first thought these were crackers to celebrate a Ceylon victory in the Cricket World cup over Australia [which they lost] but the brightly glowing spectacle above the houses made people realize otherwise.
Traveling by car is painful, as there are check stops at every intersection. It took my Uncle 3 hours to get from Wellawatte to Kynsey Road, to a house a short distance from the General Hospital. Because of this and the fear of further bombings, people communicate with each other by phone. Capitalizing on this, cabs charge a fortune. Today is May Day, and just a few people have gathered for the usual political processions. Tomorrow and day after is Vesak, and there is concern that the usual crowds would be absent to view the lights. The prices of gasoline and fuel have mounted.
Sri Lanka aviation hub aspirations hit by air raids - Lanka Business on
Line, 01 May 2007
May 01, 2007 (LBO) – A trimming of services to Sri Lanka by major international carriers is undermining Colombo's aspirations to be a regional aviation hub, in addition to hitting the island's tourist industry.
Singapore Airlines halted daytime flights to Sri Lanka Monday, following Tamil Tiger air intrusions into the South, while Emirates said its suspension would remain, dashing earlier expectations that it would resume operations soon. Emirates said a service to Dubai and Singapore which had a stopover in Colombo would now by pass the island and fly direct. A Dubai - Male flight via Colombo has also been dropped in favour of a direct service.
Emirates, which manages and partly owns SriLankan, the island's national carrier, suspended all its flights to Colombo along with Cathay Pacific after Sunday's Tiger air strike, the third in a month. "Following a review of the situation in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, Emirates' flights to the city remain suspended until further notice," an Emirates spokesperson said.
Colombo airport has become a hub for the subcontinent in recent years with a rising number of Indian travellers using the island to travel to the Middle East, Europe and East Asia.
Sri Lanka has also been systematically liberalizing air services agreements, and its major push for hub status began in 2002 when the government lit a fuse and unilaterally gave visa-on-arrival to Indian nationals following a ceasefire agreement signed with the Tamil Tigers.
Soon after, Sri Lanka also pushed for Indian private carriers to come to the island at time when they were restricted to domestic flying and state airlines were unable to expand to meet the demand created by the visa liberalization.
"Over the last year or two we saw the results of the market opening," Rohan Samarajiva head of the policy research body LIRNEasia, told LBO. "Colombo was just seeing hub-like traffic with full flights coming from India and people crossing over to other gates." Samarajiva was part of the Indo-Lanka joint negotiation team that effectively transformed the South Asian aviation industry with India giving private carriers the right not only to fly to Sri Lanka but to other countries as well.
How much of a hub an airport really is, could be seen from the share of transit passengers. In 2002 Colombo handled 2.7 million passengers with 10.4 percent of them transiting.
By 2004 total traffic had shot up to 4 million, growing 26 percent in that year alone, (RANILS ERA) while Chennai lagged behind at 2 million and fast overhauling Mumbai which handled 5.3 million passengers that year but was growing slowly.
Sri Lanka's economic liberalization slowed after 2004 and violence escalated, but the seeds sown in 2002 continued to bear fruit.
"A hub has to do with a confluence and outgoing planes and incoming ones, so you have peaks," says Samarajiva. "For example one of the peaks in Singapore is between 6.00 am and 9.00 am. In Sri Lanka we saw a hub-like peak developing around 12.00 to 02.00 am." The suspension of the Singapore night flights would effectively stymie other carriers who were feeding Colombo. "That is a very serious problem for all the Indian flights that come here because there won’t be any other aircraft to terminate to," Samarajiva said.
The big blow came when the Tigers started flying night sorties to Colombo culminating in the attack on the gas and petroleum storage facilities near Colombo which caused little real damage.
The attack came only days after Cathay resumed flights from a previous suspension after the first rebel air raid on March 26. Sunday's attack resulted in an unprecedented barrage of anti-aircraft fire from government installations, including an airbase which shares the runway with the international airport. Singapore Airlines said it would fly to Colombo only during the daytime after flights were disrupted for the third time because of the Tamil Tiger air threats in the night. Cathay Pacific also suspended flights after the attack and has made no announcement about resuming them.
“What Emirates and Cathay have indicated is that they can’t afford to take a chance of even a stray bullet hitting an aircraft,” said Channa Amaratunga, Chief Investment Officer-Boston Capital Ltd. “Anti-aircraft gunfire lighting up the sky is rarely good news for airlines.” In two earlier Tiger incursions, the airport was closed briefly and flights diverted to India.
Last Sunday an incoming Indian airliner was turned back but the airport opened shortly after. Countries like Australia which had earlier issued harsh travel advisories asking citizens to 'reconsider' the need to travel have since added new lines to their updated statement. "Due to the on-going conflict, the international airport could be closed without warning," Australia latest advice to its citizens said. Since the beginning of the year tourist arrivals have been falling, with even the resilient Indian market falling back 7 percent in the first quarter and Western Europe plunging 25 percent. In March total arrivals fell 36 percent.
Sri Lanka now has to buy expensive defensive equipment at a cost that is totally disproportionate to the size of the small Tamil Tiger aircraft, disrupting the country's finances which are already stretched with a planned 9.2 percent deficit.