Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Passenger saves lives in Sri Lanka bus bombing

A suspected Tamil Tiger bomb blast destroyed a passenger bus on the outskirts of the Sri Lankan capital on Saturday, wounding 18 people, but no one was killed.

The military said deaths were averted after a female passenger spotted a suspect parcel on the bus and informed the driver and conductor, who then evacuated the bus in the town of Mount Lavinia, just south of Colombo.

It was the latest in a series of bombings in recent months blamed on the rebels, who want a separate state in the Indian Ocean island’s north and east.

A Reuters witness saw the charred, mangled wreckage of the bus, its rear blown completely apart.

”One lady has seen a suspicious parcel and informed the driver and conductor. They got everyone off the bus, and then the driver moved the bus 10m to 15m away from the bus stop,” said military spokesperson Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara.

”They should be commended. No one was killed,” he added, saying the wounded included an eight-month-old child. ”It was definitely the Tigers.”

The Tigers were not immediately available for comment on the blast, but routinely deny involvement in attacks increasingly focused on civilians as a 25-year civil war enters a new phase.

The attack came a day after the Tigers, notorious for tit-for-tat attacks, said Sri Lankan government fighter jets killed eight civilians, including three young children, in an air raid on their northern stronghold.

Fighting between the military and Tigers has intensified since the government formally pulled out of a six-year-old ceasefire pact in January, though a renewed war has been raging since 2006.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government argues the Tigers used the truce to re-arm and were not sincere about talking peace. It has vowed to crush them militarily, and has captured large swathes of rebel-held territory in the east.

But analysts say neither side is winning, with the Tigers regularly hitting back with suicide attacks and roadside bombs.

The violence hurt tourist arrivals last year, which fell by 12% from a year earlier, while the stock market slid nearly 7% in 2007, with some businesses shelving investment plans. — Reuters

Vote for an informed choice

We’re dropping the paywall this week so that everyone can access all our stories for free, and access the information they need in the run up to the local government elections. To follow the news, sign up to our daily elections newsletter for the latest updates and analysis.

If our coverage helps inform your decision, cast your vote for an informed public and join our subscriber community. Right now, you can a full year’s access for just R510. Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

Andries Tatane’s spirit will drive fight against ANC in Ficksburg

The nascent Setsoto Service Delivery Forum is confident it can remove the ‘failing ANC’ in the chronically mismanaged Free State municipality

Paddy Harper: On gleeful politicians and headless chickens

Paddy Harper doesn’t know who to vote for yet, since the Dagga Party isn’t contesting his ward, but right now what to order for lunch is a more pressing concern

Malema: ANC will use load-shedding to steal votes

While on the campaign trail in the Eastern Cape, EFF leader Julius Malema, without evidence, claimed the ANC was planning to use rolling blackouts to ‘steal votes’

Khaya Koko: The looting isn’t over until the fat belly...

A song about Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane preventing looting was way off the mark in a province riddled with corruption and theft
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×