Troops, curfew in Colombo
[TamilNet, Saturday, 18 December 1999, 18:11 GMT]
Troops of the Sri Lanka Army have been deployed on the streets of the country√s capital tonight after twin blasts at the final campaign rallies of the two main parties contesting Tuesday's presidential elections killed 23 people and seriously wounded several others. A curfew has also been imposed in Colombo and Gampaha districts "until further notice," security sources said.
The curfew has been imposed "to maintain law and order", the sources said.
Soon after the bomb blast at Colombo Town Hall, tension prevailed in many parts of the city, particularly in the Pettah area, residents said.
Some unconfirmed reports said some racist elements were attempting to forment public disorder.
The blast at the rally of the ruling People's Alliance in Colombo Town Hall, killed fifteen people, including the Colombo Deputy Inspector General of Police T.N.de Silva and some Buddhist monks, sources said.
A total of 110 people have been admitted to Colombo National Hospital they said.
Three cabinet ministers , G.L.Peiris, Alavi Moulana and A.H.M.Fowzie were amongst the seriously wounded, they added.
The Secretary to the President, K.Balapatabendi has appealed to the people ofthe country to maintain peace.
He made this appeal through the state television, Rupavahini.He said that the President Chandrika who sustained injuries, is safe.
The other blast, at a election meeting of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP), killed eight people, including retired Major General Lucky Algama at Ja-Ela, sources said.
Dr.Jayalath Jayawardene, UNP National List Member of Parliament and 37 others were wounded, they said.
Sri Lanka state media, transmitting live from the scene of the blast at the Town Hall quoted a police officer as saying it was believed to have been triggered by a suicide bomber.