OSLO, June 15, 2006 (AFP) – The main mediator in the conflict in Sri Lanka, Erik Solheim of Norway, on Thursday harshly condemned a powerful landmine attack in Sri Lanka that killed 64 people on a packed bus and which the Colombo government blamed on rebels. “This is the most horrific act that has been (carried out) in a long time in Sri Lanka and it must be utterly condemned,” Solheim, who is also Norway’s development aid minister, told AFP.
Thursday’s attack was the deadliest on civilians in Sri Lanka in 10 years. A July 1996 bombing of a train in the capital Colombo killed 70 people.
The military blamed the attack on the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and sent air force jets to pound at least two rebel positions.
The rebels denied involvement and said the blast was aimed at discrediting them.
“The most important now is for everyone in Sri Lanka to put a stop to this violence, where one act of violence creates a response from others and then it goes from one case of violence to another, worse and worse,” Solheim said.
He called for “a stop to all violence against civilians”.
“What is the most disturbing here is of course that many of the killed are children and I think none of them has anything to do with the ethnic