Sri Lanka steps up alert as Tigers honours suicide bombers

Ishara S. Kodikara | AFP | Getty Images Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, center, speaks to supporters at the prime minister's official residence in Colombo on December 16, 2018, after he was reappointed as prime minister by Sri Lanka's president, the same man who fired him from the job nearly two months ago.

July 4, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka stepped up already tight security Tuesday as Tamil Tiger rebels prepared to celebrate “Black Tiger Day” honouring the 261 men and women who have staged suicide bombings, officials said. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) arranged Hindu religious services across the territory under their control to mark Wednesday’s 19th anniversary of their first suicide bombing.

“Security is already tight, but we take note of such anniversaries because there could be an escalation (of violence) at this time,” a senior police officer said Tuesday, a day after eight people were killed and dozens wounded in three mine blasts in the north.

An upsurge of bloodletting since December between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamil population has killed more than 830 people and strained a shaky truce brokered by Norway in 2002.

“There’s a bigger security deployment on the ground,” the officer said.

The pro-rebel website said the Tigers will pay homage to the bombers from their suicide squad on Wednesday.

“Events to observe the Black Tigers’ day at government and public institutions in the (rebel-held) Wanni (area) have also been organised,” the website said.