The Navy fired into the air to quell a tense situation that had arisen between some naval personnel and illegal sand miners at Kandakadu in Kinniya this morning, the Navy said.
Navy Spokesman Isuru Suriyabandara said the shots were fired when the illegal sand miners attempted to attack the navy personnel who raided the site.
He said the Navy and the STF are frequently conducting raids on illegal sand mining in the Mahaweli River basin on the instruction of the President and the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau.
“The Navy, assisted by the STF, had arrested several illegal sand miners and took into custody their boats and tipper trucks used for the sand mining in the area during some of the raids carried out recently. However, a group of racketeers had launched a protest when the officers visited Kandakadu this morning to arrest a group of illegal sand miners,” Lieut. Commander Suriyabandara said.
He said seven racketeers were arrested during the raid while two others had escaped by jumping into the river.
Police and STF personnel were deployed to bring the situation under control. Lt. Commander Suriyabandara said the Eastern Province Governor had also arrived at the scene and that the police are conducting further investigations.
He said the Navy would continue to raid illegal sand mining operations despite the protest by racketeers.(Darshana Sanjeewa)