Feb 2, 2008 (AFP) – Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels set off a powerful bomb on a crowded bus in north-central Sri Lanka Saturday, killing at least 20 people and wounding another 61, the military and hospital sources said. The Tamil Tigers have been fighting for an independent Tamil homeland in the majority Sinhalese nation since 1972 in a conflict that has left tens of thousands dead. The explosion ripped through the privately-owned vehicle parked at the bus station in Dambulla, 150 kilometres (93 miles) north of Colombo, police said.
Thirteen people were dead on arrival to Dambulla hospital, another five succumbed to their injuries there and two died en route to other medical facilities, a spokesman for the Dambulla hospital said.
A total of 38 people were being treated at Dambulla hospital, while another 28 were transferred to two better-equipped hospitals in the region, the spokesman said.
Military spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara put the death toll at 20.
The hospital spokesman said no foreigners were among the casualties.
“Most of the victims had serious burn injuries,” he told AFP.
The bus was taking Buddhist pi