64 killed, 94 wounded in Claymore blast in Kebitigollawe
[TamilNet, Thursday, 15 June 2006, 03:30 GMT]
64 passengers, including fifteen children and a Buddhist monk, were killed and around 94 wounded when a civilian bus was caught in a claymore mine blast near Kebitigollawe, 23 km southeast of Vavuniya, around 7:50 a.m. Thursday, police sources said. Wounded survivors were rushed to Kepitigollawe and Anuradhapura hospitals. The majority of victims are Sinhalese, officials said.
A Sri Lanka Army soldier and a homeguard were among the victims. Around 70 wounded persons were rushed to Anuradhapura hospital. 9 persons, including 2 children and 3 women, were transferred to Colombo hospital, medical sources said.
Five children were wounded.
Two claymore mines were used in the attack on the bus carrying 150 passengers, police said.
Sri Lankan Government officials blamed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for the deadly attack.
Denying the accusations, the Director of LTTE's Peace Secretariat, S. Puleedevan, said the LTTE condemned the attack on civilians in the strongest possible terms.
Mr. Puleedevan said the deadly attack, coming just after the return of an LTTE delegation which went to Norway, was a planned act carried out by paramilitary elements to destroy efforts to resume the stalled peace process.
The attack could be the work of forces seeking to create ethnic tension between Sinhalese and Tamils, as has occurred in Trincomalee, a police official in Vavuniya said.
One week ago, ten Tamil civilians, including three children, were killed and ten others, including two infants aged 3 and 8 months, were wounded when a pressure mine destroyed the tractor they were riding on.
The LTTE blamed deep penetration units of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) for the attack inside a LTTE-controlled border village at Nedunkal in Vadamunai in Batticaloa. The military denied theaccusation.
The Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) has launched retaliatory airstrikes on Mullaithivu using Kfir bombers and fired artillery and rockets from multi-barrel launchers towards LTTE controlled areas in Muttur East in Trincomalee district.
07.06.06 10 civilians killed, in SLA pressure mine attack