Sri Lanka Sacks 31 Airmen over Airport Attack
Sri Lanka has sacked 31 airforce personnel for failing to guard their base and the adjoining international airport against a devastating Tamil rebel attack, a report said Sunday.
President Chandrika Kumaratunga has ordered the discharge of five officers, including the commander of the Katunayake air base, and 26 men following the major Tamil Tiger attack on July 24, the Sunday Times newspaper said.
It said the president had also commended the bravery of two officers and 10 airmen for displaying courage and gallantry in the face of the suicide attack carried out by a force of 14 rebels.
There was no immediate reaction from the air force to the report.
The 14 rebels who took part in the attack and seven security personnel were killed.
Eight military aircraft at the base were completely destroyed and 10 damaged in the embarrassing assault.
The rebels then moved to the adjoining Bandaranaike international airport where they completely destroyed four SriLankan Airlines passenger jets and damaged two more Airbus aircraft parked there.
The airport was closed for 36 hours after the attack, which reduced the national carrier's fleet by half.
The attack has prompted insurance companies to slap high insurance premiums on aircraft and ships operating services to Sri Lanka -- COLOMBO (AFP)
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