One killed, six injured in Colombo blast

March 10th, 2008 - 7:27 pm ICT by admin  

(Second Lead)

Colombo, March 10 (IANS) One person was killed and six others, including four schoolchildren, were injured in a bomb blast in south Colombo Monday morning, the Sri Lankan army spokesperson said. “The bomb was kept in a flowerpot in the middle of Galle Road opposite Roxy cinema at Wellawatte,” military spokesperson Brig Udaya Nanayakkara told IANS.

The defence ministry said the bomb was planted by Tamil rebel group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) “to kill innocent civilians”.

The blast occurred around 6.50 a.m. when children go to schools in buses and vans or on foot.

The person who was killed had spotted a strange object kept in a flowerpot on the road divider and was inspecting it when it exploded. One of the six students injured was in a serious condition in the Kalubowila hospital. The students belonged to the St. Paul’s and St. Mary’s schools located nearby.

The site of the blast was strewn with torn schoolbooks and bags. The charred body of the civilian, shorn of his clothes, was lying right in the middle of the road before the police took it away.

The area was immediately cordoned off and traffic was diverted.

It is not clear as to who could have been the intended target of the attack. Wellwatte is a predominantly Tamil area with a particular concentration of Tamils from the island’s war-torn Tamil-speaking northeastern districts. And Roxy cinema specialises in showing Tamil films.

Colombo has been seeing a series of blasts allegedly perpetrated by the LTTE in retaliation for the successful Sri Lankan military operations in the rebel-held parts of the island’s north.

Political observers said the blast could be a retaliation for the killing of a pro-LTTE Tamil member of parliament, K. Sivanesan, in a claymore mine blast in a rebel controlled area in the Wanni in north Sri Lanka, March 6. The LTTE accused the Sri Lanka Army’s deep penetration unit of killing the parliamentarian.

DPA adds: Nine soldiers and at least 25 Tamil rebels were killed in clashes in northern Sri Lanka as the country’s eastern region held its first elections in 14 years.

Nine soldiers and the 25 rebels were killed in four separate incidents in northern Wanni district Sunday.

In the east, where 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 rebels a year ago, some 40 percent of the voters had turned up by noon.

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).

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