Sri Lanka News

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Government calls the LTTE act of killing 16 in a bus bomb a cowardly act

By Walter Jayawardhana


The government of Sri Lanka while condemning it called the bus bomb attack that killed 16 mostly women and children, on a Buddhist Full Moon holiday a cowardly act on the part of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE).

The blast came to coincide with President Mahinda Rajapakse’s visit to neighboring India to attend a two-day South Asian summit opening in New Delhi Tuesday where he was intending to take up LTTE terrorism in his country as a main issue.

Experts said the blast had all the hallmarks of the LTTE but they denied any involvement in the blast. They customarily deny any involvement after any such violent act against civilians.

At least fourteen civilians including three children and an army soldier and a policeman were killed when the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam terrorists exploded a bus bomb inside a civilian bus in the country’s troubled Eastern Province, the army said.

A spokesman for the Ampara General Hospital said 16 dead bodies of the blast victims are in the hospital which is 220 miles East of Colombo.

"The bomb was planted inside the bus. The dead included 10 women, 3 children and three men — one of those a policeman and another a soldier," said a member of the elite police commando Special Task Force, asking not to be named.

Military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said the bus bomb was exploded at 12.10 p.m. when the bus reached Konduwatuwan Sri Lanka Army security check point, April 2.

The bus had stopped at the military checkpoint and most of the passengers were taken off while troops searched the bus. The bomb went off as the soldiers were carrying out their search, Samarasinghe said. The bomb had been hidden inside the bus and the dead soldier and policeman were examining the bus, according to the initial information. If it was not a concealed bomb inside the bus, it could have been a suicide bomber who was still seated inside the bus and triggered off the bomb when the inspection started, it was speculated.

According to the initial information among the dead were more females since many men were out of the bus at the time of the blast.

The sources said twenty five other severely injured passengers were rushed to the Ampara General Hospital.

The head of the Ampara hospital, Dr.Lankathilaka Jayasinghe, said the injured were still being rushed to the region’s main hospital.

"Three people were dead on admission and 12 others died in hospital," Jayasinghe said, adding that 25 more people were undergoing treatment.

The bus was plying on Ampara-Badulla road towards Bibile when the explosion occurred. The Army sources said the bomb has been triggered inside the bus.

As the Tamil Tigers were evacuated from their occupied areas by military means they have been restricted to few jungle strips and have beeen attacking civilians by artillery fire and killed eight Tamil civilians.

Thereafter, LTTE gunmen on April 1, took eight civilian ethnic Sinhalese construction workers who were building Tsunami houses at Mailambaveli in Eravur in the same province and shot them in execution style. Six of them died on the spot. Two were admitted to the hospital with gun shot injuries.

The series of civilian killings inside the country came after suspected LTTE gun men killed five Tamil Nadu fishermen while they were fishing in the seas just to strain relations between India and Sri Lanka on the eve of the SAARC summit in New Delhi. The Indian Navy said the Tamil Tigers are prime suspects for the killings.

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April 3, 2007 - Posted by | International News

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