Sri Lanka steps up security for lawmakers after assassination

Jan 9, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lanka has increased its already tight security arrangements for members of parliament following the death of a cabinet minister in a suspected Tamil Tiger bomb attack, officials said Wednesday. The number of bodyguards and security vehicles assigned to lawmakers was stepped up after Tuesday’s roadside bombing just outside the capital killed nation building minister D. M. Dassanayake, said parliament Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara.

“The government has agreed to increase the security of MP’s with immediate effect,” Lokubandara said, adding that leaders of all political parties had discussed the issue Tuesday.

The year began with a gunman killing a minority Tamil lawmaker, T. Maheswaran, while he was at a Hindu temple in the capital.

Minister Dassanayake and his bodyguard were killed in Tuesday’s attack, which was followed by another powerful explosion in Colombo later Tuesday.

No one was hurt in the second blast, police said.

The killing of the minister came less than a week after a similar roadside bomb in Colombo killed five people. The authorities blamed the Tigers for that attack.

Meanwhile, fighting escalated in the island’s north, with the military claiming it kil