01/02/2008, 00.00
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Bomb in Colombo, at least 4 dead and 24 injured

by Melani Manel Perera
The attack on a military bus took place one day after the assassination of a Tamil member of parliament, openly critical of the government. The politician was killed inside a Hindu temple. Despite continued threats Colombo had removed his escort weeks ago.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – One soldier and three civilian passers-by were the victims of a roadside bomb detonated to target a military convoy this morning in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo.  The convoy was carrying soldiers wounded in clashes with Tamil rebels.  The police suspect Tamil Tiger separatists of being behind the attack, who for over 20 years now have waged a war for independence in the north and east of the country.

The blast occurred in Slave Island, a capital suburb home to various army installations. The bus was close to hotel Nippon, in front of the Catholic Holy Rosary Church when the explosion took place.  Authorities say that 24 people were injured in the attack, “some” soldiers.   Currently they are all undergoing treatment in Colombo.  Both the hotel and parish were damaged in the blast.

The attack follows the assassination o fan ethnic Tamil politician yesterday, at a Hindu temple in the capital.  T. Maheswaran was a member of the op position United National Party (UNP). He had been attending a religious ceremony when he was shot.  Another man was killed in the shooting and 11 people were injured.

Maheswaran, an ex minister, was critical of the government's policy towards the Tamil minority. According to an interview with ' Lanka E News' local website, he had stated that he would reveal important information and names concerning the daily murders in Jaffna at the upcoming parliament meeting on the 8th January. He had further stated that the government had removed his security two weeks earlier despite the fact that government intelligences had informed him of possible death threats. Leader of the main opposition, Ranil Wickremasinghe strongly condemned and accused government that the government should be held the responsible for Maheswaran's killing.

In 25 years of civil war in Sri Lanka over 70 thousand people have died, 5 thousand in the last two years since the 2002 cease fire was broken.

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See also
Government sets up Tamil committee, a trick for the opposition
Military retaliates after suicide bomb kills minister
21 Die in Colombo bus bombing
Tamil refugees going home to an open prison
Senior peace adviser to the president resigns


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