Convoy blast kills eleven
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 11 August 1999, 11:56 GMT]
(2nd Lead) Eleven military trained policemen were killed and 19 wounded, 5 of them seriously, when a bus they were travelling in was hit by a claymore mine at Thandavanveli junction in the eastern town of Batticaloa around 12.10, today.
The mine exploded as a large Sri Lanka Army (SLA) convoy, which had left 23-3 Brigade Headquarters, five minutes earlier, approached the Railway station junction on the Batticaloa-Trincomalee road, SLA sources said
The bus was tossed five metre due to the impact of the blast, the sources added.
It was one of 12 buses, along with five armoured vehicles, which made up the SLA convoy. A number of Special Forces troopers on motorcycles were providing escort, said sources.
SLA troops and military trained police occupied positions on both sides of the route taken by the convoy, which was enroute to Polannaruwa, they added.
SLA sources said the buses were carrying a mixture of SLA, Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) and police personnel heading out on vacation from bases in Batticaloa.
The attack took place about 500 metres from Batticaloa Police station.
The wounded policemen were rushed to the Batticaloa hospital and later flown to Colombo for further treatment said SLA sources.
Residents said two shuttered shops were damaged in the blast. Civilians in the area were assaulted by furious SLA soldiers after the attack, they added.