Eight killed in Sri Lanka bus blast

by Mel Gunasekera

COLOMBO, April 7, 2007 (AFP) – Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels detonated a roadside bomb on Saturday, killing eight passengers on a bus and wounding 25, the Sri Lankan government said, marking the latest violence on the island. Security has also been intensified across the island’s northern and eastern regions in a bid to prevent Tiger attacks, the government said. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) set off the blast outside the town of Vavuniya, 250 kilometres (156 miles) north of Colombo, the defence ministry said, adding a soldier was among the passengers killed.

“A Claymore mine hit the bus as it was halfway through to the destination,” an area military official said. “The bomb was rigged up on a tree and manually triggered as the bus passed. It was the work of the Tigers.”

However, the Tigers denied the charge and blamed military intelligence.

“The Sri Lankan military intelligence establishment has devised bomb attacks and wanton killings during the last two weeks with a sinister motive of tarnishing the image of the Tigers,” LTTE spokesman Rasiah Ilanthiriyan was quoted as saying on the pro-rebel Tamilnet.com website.

Five people were dead on arrival at Vavuniya hospital, while another three pa