The government intends to bring Sampur under its control. The ongoing combined security forces offensive would continue until ground troops achieved their task, a senior official said, adding that they could not allow the LTTE to use the area as a launching pad for artillery and mortar strikes on the strategic Trincomalee harbour. The forces launched the offensive on Sunday targeting enemy positions in Trincomalee south.
Army Chief Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka Tuesday emphasized the need to neutralise LTTE units based at Sampur. Fonseka told Asko Numminen, the New Delhi-based Finish Ambassador accredited to Colombo of the urgent need to clear Sampur, thereby enhancing security to the navy base. Fonseka emphasised the importance of protecting the Trincomalee-KKS sea supply route, particularly in view of the recent LTTE bid to cut off the Jaffna peninsula. The meeting took place at Army Headquarters.
Finland holds the rotating EU presidency. President Mahinda Rajapakse recently told Sri Lanka`s donor co-chairs? the US, EU, Japan and Norway that the LTTE would not be allowed to use Sampur. The government insists that the ongoing military action is defensive in nature.
The Navy brought the LTTE build-up in Trincomalee south to the notice of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on April 24, 2003. Defence Minister Tilak Marapana, Minister Milinda Moragoda and UNP Chairman Malik Samarawickrema participated at the briefing at the Trincomalee base. The military claimed that the LTTE established new camps after the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement in February, 2002.