4TH LEAD (Adds comments)

Senior SLA Commander killed in bomb blast

[TamilNet, Monday, 26 June 2006, 02:59 GMT]
A senior top official of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA), Major General Parami Kulatunga, who holds the third position in the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) high command was killed in Pannipitiya, 15 km southeast of Colombo, in Homagama police division in Western Province, in a suicide bomb attack around 7:45 a.m. Monday, Police said. Maj. Gen. Kulatunga, Deputy Chief of Staff, has served as SLA Commander for Vanni High Command of the Sri Lanka Army.

Maj. Gen. Parami Kulatunga, Vanni Commander of the SLA
Maj. Gen. Parami Kulatunga, a key Commander in the Vanni High Command of the Sri Lanka Army, has also served as Commander in Trincomalee, Vavuniya and Mannar.

Police said the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber who was riding in a motorbike.

According to a news update released by the SLA, a back up vehicle and the car in which the Major General was riding in were attacked when the Commander was on his way to office Monday morning. The car was set ablaze by the explosion, which killed the Commander, the driver Sergeant Gomes and Corporal Buddika.

Six others were wounded according to medical sources.

Sri Lanka Military spokesman Brig Prasad Samarasinghe has charged the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for the suicide attack, which comes in the wake of SLA Deep Penetration Unit (DPU) attacks, targeting senior LTTE commanders in Vanni.

Press reports today quoted political observers as saying that in the tit for tat killings going on in the ‘shadow war’ which has escalated steadily for the past two years, the assassination of Maj Gen Kulatunga followed the killing of two top ranking LTTE military commanders, Lt Col Ramanan of Batticaloa and Lt Col Mahindi of Mannar, for which Tigers have blamed the Sri Lanka Army.

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse said in a statement that Monday’s attack “is a another example of the LTTE’s continued commitment to terrorism and its cowardly use of suicide killers, and deserve both contempt and condemnation.”

“On this sad occasion I wish to re-state my commitment to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka, and the democratic rights of all citizens of our country, for which cause Major General Kulatunga and the two others who were killed in this act of cowardice, gave their lives in such a tragic manner,” he said.

“This act of violence … will not frighten either the civilians or the security forces, nor deter them from overcoming the LTTE and its terror,” the President said.

Maj. Gen. Parami, blast site
A Sri Lanka military police officer walks past the destroyed car of Sri Lanka Army Maj. Gen. Parami Kulatunga. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)


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