A rumour is spreading rapidly, both in Sri Lanka and abroad, of a poisonous gas attack in the front lines killing hundreds of SLA officers and men. This claim is completely false. The only gas attack launched by the Tigers so far has been canister after canister of CS gas directed by retreating LTTE units from the Akkarayan bund.
A huge CS gas attack was launched by the LTTE two Saturdays ago and again today in the general areas Therumurikandi North and Kokavil North. Two battalions, the 4 SR commanded by Lt. Col. Subhashana Welikala and 8 SLLI commanded by Lt. Col. Iksith Dissanayake who are the front line troops of the 572 Brigade came under attack while overrunning this bunker line. At least two Platoons were affected by the gas as the fumes got mixed up with the breeze. Soldiers who were exposed at the time were affected and some had to be hospitalized.
Currently suitable gas masks are being made locally to counter the threat. The masks use a form of Activated Carbon. AC is used for industries and applications such as gold recovery, air purification, gas purification, water purification, wastewater purification, process treatments, cigarette filters, pharmaceuticals as well as nuclear and military purposes.
These masks are being completely manufactured in Sri Lanka and are being distributed to officers and man as we speak. The Pakistan Army also procures this product from the same Sri Lankan supplier. The raw material for activated carbon manufacturing is charcoal obtained from Coconut shells. The removal process of harmful gases is called ” Adsorption” (NOT ABSORPTION).
Any toxic gas could get adsorbed on to these surfaces and get removed and the air purified. The products used for military applications, such as for respiratory masks, are specially formulated using basic activated carbon. A special chemical is impregnated on the pore surface by use of advance technologies in oder to give the removal properties of such gases.
This local product has been used to defend against recent CS gas attacks and have had the capacity to hold on for approximately 20 – 25 minutes which is well sufficient to take any remedial action. The initial quantities were given free of charge and the rest shall be ordered and is to be purchased by the Army. The Army’s medical department is overlooking this part.