Bomb kills one in Colombo as eastern Sri Lanka votes

March 10th, 2008 - 2:23 pm ICT by admin  

Colombo, March 10 (DPA) At least one civilian was killed and four school children were injured when a parcel bomb exploded in Sri Lanka’s capital Monday as the country’s eastern region held its first elections in 14 years, a military spokesman said. The bomb set up inside a flower bed in the centre of the main road in Wellawatte, six km south of the city centre, went off opposite a boy’s school.

“We believe that the terrorists (rebels) set up the bomb targeting civilians,” military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said.

Traffic into the city from the southern part of the country was diverted and a search was mounted in the area, but the police failed to make any arrest.

The attack took place as voting commenced in local elections across the eastern part of the country. Elections are being held for the first time in 14 years after the area was brought back under control of the security forces from the Tamil Tiger rebels a year ago.

The elections were being held for nine local councils, including the Batticaloa municipal council, and 270,471 voters were eligible to cast ballots.

A breakaway faction of the Tamil rebels was the main group contesting the elections while its main rivals are three former militant groups who were contesting as an independent group.

For the Batticaloa municipal council the breakaway group of the rebels, known as the Pilliyan group, was contesting under the country’s ruling party’s name - the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA).

The elections are seen as a boost to the image of the government, which has declared its intention to recapture rebel-controlled areas and hand over power to the people in the area.

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