Bus blast kills 12 Sri Lankan sailors and dims peace hopes

Apr.11 (AFP) – Suspected Tamil rebels blew up a bus full of sailors in northeastern Sri Lanka on Tuesday killing 12 and further dimming hopes for a new round of peace talks next week, officials said. The attack was seen by officials involved in the Norwegian-backed peace bid as a blow to diplomatic efforts to get the parties to the negotiating table in Switzerland to discuss ways to save an increasingly faltering ceasefire.

The bus was travelling from the port city of Trincomalee to Kantale, the next main town in the region, when it was caught in the blast, a police official in the area told AFP.

“Victims have been sent to three hospitals,” the official said, adding that the bus had hit an oncoming van just after the blast and four passengers, including three Britons, were also hurt.

Three of the foreigners were from the eastern England city of Norwich, police said. Hospital sources in Kantale said they were badly shaken, but out of danger.

They were, however, airlifted to the main city of Colombo for hospital observation.

Among those killed was a civilian driver of the bus transporting sailors returning home for the traditional Sinhala New Year on Thursday.

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