9TH LEAD

62 killed, 100 wounded in Batticaloa blast, official figures on casualty low

[TamilNet, Friday, 17 September 2010, 08:15 GMT]
Around 62 persons including Sri Lankan policemen, civilians and two Chinese nationals have been killed in a massive explosion that rocked the Karadiyan-aa'ru area, situated 20 km northwest of Batticaloa city, Friday around 12:30 p.m., initial reports from the area said. Containers with explosives parked close the police station exploded destroying the entire police station. The explosion also affected the nearby agricultural department building. There were at least three containers with dynamites intended for road construction which was operated by Chinese workers, the reports further said. Around 100 persons, including engineers from the South, wounded in the blast were being rushed to hospital. Ex LTTE members deployed in the construction work under Colombo's publicized rehabilitation programme were likely among the victims, a local NGO official told reporters in Colombo.

Explosion close to Karadiyanaa'ru SL Police compound


The Sri Lankan Defence ministry Friday evening put the casualty figures at more than 20 killed. Police officials who earlier said casualty figures were more than 50 killed and scores wounded, reduced their official figures to 26 killed, including 10 policemen and 7 civilians. More than 50 were injured, according to the official figures by the SL Police.

Sri Lankan Police officials ruled out the possibility of sabotage and maintained that it was a tragic accident. Meanwhile, officials at the hospital have been instructed to remain tight-lipped on casualty details. The catastrophic blast at the police station was an "industrial explosion" of containers that belong to a Chinese company according to the official news by the Sri Lankan police.

Following the blast, Sri Lankan Special Task Force (STF) personnel and police were rushed to the area.

The Karadiyanaa'ru police station was completely destroyed as well as several other buildings in the area.

The injured were being admitted to the Batticoloa Government hospital and they were being treated for burn injuries, police and hospital officials said.

The explosives-laden containers were part of the Eastern Province development programme.

Explosion close to Karadiyanaa'ru SL Police compound


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