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 Post subject: 6 killed, 50 injured in Nittambuwa bus explosion - updated!
 Post Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 8:21 pm 
6 killed, 50 injured in Sri Lanka's bus explosion

The bomb that ripped through the passenger bus killing 6 civilians and wounding around 50 weighed 2 kilos and had been set under a seat, initial investigations have revealed. The explosion occurred in a privately owned bus that was traveling to Griulla form Nittambuwa along the Colombo- Kandy high way at the 26th mile post in Pasyala, close to the "Damro" showroom around 6.35p.m.


Source © Ministry of Defence/ Agencies / LL

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka: At least six people traveling in a passenger bus were killed in a bomb blast on Friday, the military said, blaming the attack on separatist Tamil rebels.

The blast occurred close to Nittambuwa town, 40 kilometers (24 miles) northeast of capital Colombo, an official at the Defense Ministry's national security media center said.

The reports also indicate that the explosion has occurred in a privately owned bus that was traveling to Griulla form Nittambuwa along the Colombo- Kandy high way.

The bomb that ripped through the passenger bus killing 6 civilians and wounding around 50 weighed 2 kilos, initial investigations have revealed. The 2 kilo high explosives bomb had been set under a seat.

According to the police sources, the explosion has taken place at the 26th mile post , close to the "Damro" showroom around 6.35p.m. The bus has caught into fire immediately after the explosion and the fire brigade has taken steps to control the fire.

The casualties are now being evacuated to General Hospitals at Gampaha and Wathupitiwala. The hospital sources told that the condition of 10 injured civilians are in a critical stage.


7 out of the 10 critically injured civilians were rushed to the General hospital in Colombo for urgent treatment.

Among the critically injured are two children aged 9 and 15. Around 23 people who were less seriously injured are currently undergoing treatment at the WATHUPITIWALA hospital. Another 15 civilians who sustained minor injuries have left the hospital after treatment.


The commuters are advised to use alternative route to Colombo-Kandy highway since the road is presently closed at Nittambuwa.

On June 15th last year the LTTE exploded two claymore mines targeting a passenger bus in KEBITHIGOLLEWA killing 64 civilians. Among the dead were 15 School children, several pregnant women, one Buddhist priest and many civilians.

"It was an act of terror targeting innocent civilians by the LTTE," Military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said.

Government Defence Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the LTTE which is losing its battle in the North and East was now acting in a manner to distract the Government's attention it was giving to the North and East and has targeted unarmed civilians in the South. "Historical evidence points the finger towards the Tigers for the blast," he said.

"These are signs of desperation in view of the defeats the LTTE had suffered. Public support in the past had helped the Security Forces to minimise the incidents in the country.

The latest blast came two days after the LTTE warned the Sri government could face 'serious repercussions' for allegedly killing over a dozen civilians in Mannar.

According to National Hospital sources the following were among the injured who were admitted there last night – Sevon Randisha, Thushani Wimalaratne, Ruwan Chaminda, H.P. Janaka, Rangana Jagath Kumara, S.M. Rimshan and Nishantha.

Sri Lanka detains 10 over bus bomb

January 6, 2007

Police detained 10 people for questioning overnight after a bus bomb near the Sri Lankan capital killed six, and authorities strongly suspect separatist Tamil rebels in the blast, the Defense Ministry said Saturday.

"Combined security operations during the night were carried out in the area and 10 people were detained for questioning," military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said Saturday.

No formal charges have been lodged against any of the detainees, who are still being questioned, he said.

Bus driver Nimal Hettiarachi, 40, told The Associated Press that the blast struck the back of the bus which was carrying about 65 passengers. He said four badly burned bodies were recovered soon after the explosion.

Friday's bomb came two days after the rebels warned the government of "serious repercussions" for an air force bombing that the rebels claimed killed 16 ethnic Tamil civilians, including eight children, in the northwestern Mannar district. The military said it targeted only Tamil rebel positions in the airstrike Tuesday.

 Post subject: Bus turns into fire ball in peak hour blast
 Post Posted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 6:43 pm 
Bus turns into fire ball in peak hour blast

By Asif Fuard
@ ST / Sunday, January 7, 2007

Fear gripped the town of Nittambuwa in the wake of a bomb blast that ripped through a bus plying from Nittambuwa to Giriulla, killing five and injuring scores. People were seen closing shop and hurrying home as the tragedy struck during peak hours of the evening.

Frightened passengers were seen at the main bus stand, while police conducted search operations.
The Gampaha police division imposed a curfew from 10 p.m. on Friday till 6 a.m. yesterday to prevent any racial backlash as there were reports of mobs stoning some shops owned by Tamils in Nittambuwa.

Gampaha SSP Shantha Rajapakse said appropriate action would be taken against those who fuel racial violence, however no arrests were made as things appeared to have quietened down. Nittambuwa and Attanagalla were like ghost towns as most shops put up shutters after the blast.

Police later carried out a cordon and search operation in the area to find clues relating to the blast that the government has blamed on the LTTE. The LTTE has denied any involvement. The fateful private bus bearing the number plate WP NA 0137 had left the Nittambuwa bus station at 6.20 in the evening. It had around 70 passengers on board and had passed four bus halts when it exploded at 6.45 p.m.

So far there have been no witness accounts on who could have planted the bomb on board. According to the Government Analyst who visited the scene the bomber had used a C-4 plastic explosive weighing about two Kg. he is yet to ascertain if the bomb was on a timer or a remote detonator. Within an hour of the explosion the STF Bomb Disposal Unit arrived on the scene and were seen examining the bus to find if there were any improvised explosive devises.

According to them the bomb had been placed on top of a rack in the bus. The impact of the explosion had ripped the roof and side of the bus. They believe if the bomb had been kept on the seat of the bus it would have cause greater death and destruction.

Police investigations have revealed that the bus is owned by A.S. Kumari from Maharagama and it does about two trips from Nittambuwa to Giriulla on a daily basis. Police also revealed that the regular driver of the bus identified as “Nana” had taken leave on Friday and was due to report back to work on Monday. A substitute driver, Nimal Hettiarachi had been asked to work his shift.

The driver when questioned by the police says he faintly remembers a group of people boarding the bus. He believes that they had paid the conductor and asked for tickets to Giriulla. The only factor that could be suspicious about their actions was that they had got down after two bus halts, he said.
The nearest hospital in Wathupitiwala had about 40 injured people warded while 18 other were critical. There were scenes of pandemonium as people were attempting to make their way in to the hospital in spite of the tight security.

The critically wounded were transferred to the Gampaha Hospital and the National Hospital. A 14 year old boy traveling from Nittambuwa to Giriulla after attending a science class was seen lying in the morgue with four others who were burnt to death. His farther who rushed to the hospital was seen breaking down on seeing the body.

Passengers who caught a ride in this deadly bus had their own tragic tal to relate. Ruwani Kanchana who was covered with the blood of her son, lying in the hospital bed next to her said she was to get down at the next halt but before she could do so she heard a loud noise and the bus turned into a ball of fire.

“I was seated two rows behind the bus driver. I first heard a loud explosion and then I saw flames all over. I grabbed my son who was unconscious and bleeding and I ran out of the burning bus,” she said.
Little Kusum (9) looks on at his twin brother Kumudu who had sustained minor injuries in the blast, being examined by the doctor. The mother heaved a sigh of relied as the doctor said Kumudu’s condition was stable.

“Kumudu and I got into the bus from the the drivers end while Kusum got in from the rear end. If Kusum had boarded from our end he might have got caught to the full impact of the blast. It was a miracle that he got in from the other other end,” Kamani the mother of the twins said.

“I was returning home from Nittambuwa town after work with my friend when we hopped this bus. When I was about to pay the conductor there was a massive explosion. Fragments from the bus window hit my face. I saw my friend unconscious and bleeding. I held on to him and struggled to get out of the bus that was in flames,” Navin said.

The blast comes in the backdrop of the LTTE warning the government that there would be 'serious repercussions' for the alleged killing of over dozen Tamil civilians in Mannar.

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