Sri Lanka seeks public help to find bus bombers

Feb 3, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s police Sunday sought public help to track down two men believed to have planted a powerful bomb on a crowded bus that killed 20 passengers and wounded more than 60. The parcel bomb, left on an overhead rack of a long-distance bus in northern Sri Lanka, was set off on Saturday morning using a mobile phone, a police spokesman said.

“We have information that two people got off the bus before the bomb went off,” police Deputy Inspector-General Kingsley Ekanayaka said.

“We are trying to track them down. A search is underway.”

Police said 68 people were still being treated in three hospitals.

The bomb ripped through the privately-owned vehicle at a bus station in Dambulla, 150 kilometres (93 miles) north of Colombo. The bus had stopped en route to the Buddhist pilgrimage town of Anuradhapura, police said.

The station is a key transit point in the region.

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels set off a powerful suicide truck bomb in the same area in October 2006, killing at least 116 sailors heading home on leave.

President Mahinda Rajapakse condemned the bombing and urged Sri Lankans not to be provoked by what he called the