Sri Lanka News

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Wilpattu National Park landmine victims identified

Top Businessman and award winning writer among the dead

Several army and police teams accompanied by Wildlife Department trackers, yesterday afternoon reached the spot at the Wilpattu National Park where a vehicle carrying six local tourists and a guide got caught to a suspected LTTE landmine.

The group of six, reportedly from Colombo, have been identified as Darrel Perera, Nihal de Silva (N.S.) – author of ‘The Road from Elephant Pass’, Nandana Abeysuriya, Condista Abeysuriya, Chandhi Asirvathan, Anula Asirvathan and the volunteer guide Anura Dissanayake.

SSP Anuradhapura division Ananda Hettiarachchi told the Daily Mirror that so far several teams of army and police who had left at around 6.00 a.m. yesterday, had reportedly reached the spot by 3.00 p.m.

Due to heavy rains and possible threat from the terrorists, the arrival of the security forces to the spot had been delayed.

Meanwhile, Wilpattu National Park Wildlife office said that the radio link covering the area was malfunctioning due to the inclement weather. Army sources said three army teams, two police teams and trackers had left to carry out investigations into the explosion in the Wilpattu sanctuary.

They said it would be difficult to spot the exact location of the explosion due to heavy rain and the danger of wild elephants.

It is believed that the LTTE has infiltrated the area.

Meanwhile the scattered remains of the persons caught in the explosion were brought to Anuradhapura hospital morgue by late yesterday evening.

It was reported that there were two unidentified heads among the bodies. Four National Identity Cards also were found among the scattered parts of the vehicle.

SSP Anuradhapura Division Ananda Hettiarachchi told the Daily Mirror that the bodies were brought out of the park by 8.00pm and sent to the Anuradhapura hospital. They are to be brought to Colombo later.

According to military sources, there had been three explosions at the time of the incident.

An officer attached to the Wilpattu Wildlife Office said the alleged attack by the LTTE was targeting the Colombo Tamil businessmen who were in this group.

The group had reportedly arrived at the park on Friday from Colombo and had stayed at the Kokmotai tourist bungalow which is in a far corner of the park.

The park was closed down for public in 1989 due to the volatile security situation in the country at the time. Since it was reopened in 2002 after the Cease Fire Agreement was signed, certain LTTE activities had been reported with Tiger cadres infiltrating the park borders. -Daily Mirror-By Kurulu Kariyakarawana and Athula Bandara

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May 29, 2006 - Posted by | Media Journalism, South Asia, World News

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