5TH LEAD (Correction, update)

7 killed, 25 wounded, bomb targets bus carrying Tamil, Muslim civilians

[TamilNet, Saturday, 07 April 2007, 04:25 GMT]
A Claymore mine was triggered on Vavuniya Mannar Road, 25 km west of Vavuniya town, killing 7 and wounding 25, including four children, Police said. The bomb attack has targeted a Sri Lanka Transport Board (CTB) bus, carrying Tamil and Muslim civilians, travelling from Mannar to Vavuniya Saturday around 7:40 a.m. between Piramanalankulam and Puthukulam. 19 wounded patients were rushed to Vavuniya hospital, according to medical sources.

The victims were identified as:
  • the driver of the bus, Ponnampalam Kirubaharan, father of one,
  • 44-year-old mother Sinnathamby Nirmala from Kannaddy, Ganeshapuram, Vavuniya,
  • 14-year old Sasitharan,
  • Sagayanathan Sosai, a family man from Vankalai traveling to be with his wife who was to be operated at Vavuniya hospital Saturday,
  • Mudiyappu Jesunayagam, 25, from Chettiyarmakan Kattaiyadampan, Murunkan, traveling with his wife (seriously wounded) and their 5 month child (no injuries),
  • Sivalingam from Murunkan, and
  • a Sri Lankan soldier in civil cloths, travelling from Mannar to Vavuniya.

The conductor of the CTB (registration number 62-5546) Bakkeer Mohaideen Nihal, was wounded in the attack.

The driver was reportedly killed when the bus hit a tree. The bomb, believed to be Claymore mine, was attached to another tree, police at the site of the blast said.

Two of the wounded brought to Vavuniya hospital were local employees of Swiss Demining Federation (FSD), according to the initial details from the medical sources.

All the bus services from Mannar depot have been cancelled following the explosion that targeted the civilian passenger bus.

Casualties are expected to rise as there were seriously wounded among the civilians rushed to Vavuniya hospital.

At least four Sri Lankan troopers in civil cloths were among the wounded and transferred to Anuradhapura from Chettikulam, military sources in Colombo said.

Ponniah Manickavasagar, a staff engineer attached to Building Department was also among the wounded. He is a close relative of Vavuniya District Magistrate M. Ilancheliyan, who visited the wounded at the hospital.

Sagayathevi Jesunayagam, a young wife who lost her husband in the blast, wounded and caught in shock, was pleading the hospital staff to rescue her husband. Her 5 months old baby escaped without injuries.

Sri Lankan military was quick to blame the Tigers for the attack. Tigers have categorically denied the accusation and said the attack was the work of the Sri Lankan military intelligence.



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