Sri Lanka News

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A powerful bomb rocked the rush hour traffic in Ratmalana last evening

A powerful bomb targeting a police Special Task Force truck rocked the rush hour traffic in Ratmalana last evening killing seven civilians and injuring more than 30 including seven STF personnel.

The STF truck carrying nine personnel was on its way to the Gonahena STF camp from the Katukurunda police training camp when it was caught in the blast between Belekkade Junction and Maliban Junction around 5.40 pm.

“All the dead were civilians and there were two women among them. Seven STF personnel were among the injured,” Military Spokesman Prasad Samarasinghe told the Daily Mirror Sri Lanka.

Of the seven dead, five were reported from the Kalubowila hospital and one each from the National Hospital and the Panadura Base Hospital. Initial Police investigations indicated the claymore mine had been hidden atop the roof of a VCD store and was triggered by a remote control device.

The STF truck along with four vans, two cars, three trishaws, two motorcycles and bicycle that had been parked on either side of the road were seriously damaged in the explosion.

According to STF sources, the truck belonging to a camp in the operational areas of Ampara had come to the Katukurunda police training camp on Saturday carrying a group of STF personnel for a special training course.

The truck had then left for the Gonahena STF camp in Kadawatha to collect provisions and welfare items last evening. Nine personnel including an STF Sub Inspector who was in charge of the group were reportedly in the truck at the time of the incident.

Meanwhile it has been revealed that the shop where the mine had been planted, belonged to a family member of an employee at the National Hospital and it had been rented out to another party to run a video parlour.

Ironically, at the time of the explosion the hospital employee had gone to the Mt. Lavinia police station to lodge a complaint about the presence of some suspicious individuals at an adjoining shop.

The video shop owner had reportedly informed the hospital employee that two youth had entered one of the two adjoining shops two days ago and had left after cleaning the area.

The two shops had remained closed for sometime.

Seven STF personnel were among the 23 injured rushed to the Kalubowila hospital following the explosion in Ratmalana last evening.

Kalubowilla Hospital Director W. G. Gunawardene said the condition of one STF personnel was serious while four of the injured were taken in for urgent surgery. In addition, two were admitted to the Intensive Care Unit while three patients were transferred to the National Hospital.

Of the five dead reported from the Kalubowila hospital, four had been identified last evening. Among them were H. S. Ramani of Pitigala, Shantha Kumara of Divulapitiya, Roshan Herath of Mount Lavinia and Irangani Fernando of Ratmalana.

One of the injured T. H. Navaratne said he was shopping with his wife when the explosion occurred. “I heard a loud explosion and saw my wife falling down on the road near the Weeratungha Hotel,” said Navaratne while requesting the nurses and doctors to attend to the more serious patients. “I will join the army when I am well enough to fight the terrorists,” he said.

F. H. Thushara a railway officer who had also been shopping with his wife when the explosion took place, said his wife suffered injuries. By Kurulu Kariyakarawana & Yohan Perera —Wijeya Newspapers

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May 29, 2007 - Posted by | International News

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