Five dead in Sri Lanka bus blast

Jan 5, 2007 (AFP) – Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels set off a powerful explosion aboard a bus, killing at least five people and wounding 50 others near Sri Lankan capital Colombo, defence ministry said.

A bomb ripped through the passenger bus driving between Nittambuwa and Giriulla during the evening rush hour on the Colombo-Kandy highway.

The traffic police said the blast forced the temporary closure of the A1, the main road between the capital and the central provincial town of Kandy.

The bus immediately caught fire, eye witnesses said.

“The bus was full of passengers at the time of the blast. It has still not been possible to identify the cause of the blast or the number of casualties”, military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said.

“This is the work of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam)”, Samarasinghe added.

Keheliya Rambukwella, the government’s defence affairs spokesman and the Minister of Policy Planning, added: “The historical evidence points the finger towards the Tigers for the blast.

“These are signs of desperation in view of the defeats they have faced recently in the battlefield”.

He said it was too early to determine if the blas