May 1 (AFP) – A Claymore mine exploded in Sri Lanka’s port town of Trincomalee on Monday, killing five people after political parties called off May Day rallies in fear of an attack, officials said. The dead included four civilians, local military officials in Trincomalee, 260 kilometres (160 miles) northeast of Colombo, said by telephone.
The fifth victim was a sailor on foot patrol.
Four sailors were critically wounded and four civilians also hurt when the mine, rigged up to a bicycle, was detonated, the military said.
They blamed the rebel Tamil Tigers.
“Two sailors approached the bicycle and were about to check it when the bomb went off,” an official told AFP. “The civilians were travelling in the area in a three-wheel taxi at the time.”
The attack came as the country marked international labour day on a low key with all major political parties calling off their annual rallies — which traditionally attract tens of thousands — fearing bomb attacks by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Plan Implementation Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said on Sunday the parties agreed to avoid large meetings after a female suicide bomber killed herself and 10 others inside army h