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Fifteen killed in bomb blast

New wave of crime: LTTE terrorism targets civilians

A powerful explosion ripped through a packed passenger bus yesterday in Godagama, killing 15 and injuring 42 passengers.

Deputy Inspector General Police Jayantha Gamage told the Sunday Observer that the bomb, believed to have been set off by the LTTE in the Matara bound private bus, exploded while the bus was proceeding along Godagamma. At the time of the blast it had carried 65 passengers.

Of the 65 passengers, 15 were killed on the spot and 42 injured were admitted to Balapitiya and Karapitiya Hospitals. The bodies are lying at Karapitiya hospital morgue. The Deputy Director Teaching Hospital Karapitiya Dr. Shelton Perera told that condition of 8 patients were critical.

Meanwhile the police have cordoned off the area and urged the public to identify the bodies.

This attack followed a bus blast last Friday when six passengers were killed and another 70 wounded at Nittabuwa.

Meanwhile, the Government last night condemned the Tiger terror attack and said its commitment to peace was undiluted. The Government said: The Government condemns the brutal attack on two passenger buses in Keetiyagoda on the Colombo - Galle highway today (06) and in Nittambuwa yesterday (05) which has killed over 20 and injured around 75 civilians.

The government extends its deep sorrow to the relatives of the dead and wish the injured a speedy recovery.

The government believes that the LTTE is attempting to divert attention from the continuous defeats they have been suffering at the hands of the security forces during the recent past.

At a moment when the security forces are successfully carrying out counter terrorist measures to restore civil administration in the North and East, the LTTE has resorted to engage in terror attacks in the south in a bid to disrupt normalcy.

The government reiterates that terror attacks will not deter its efforts to find a peaceful solution to the National problem or its counter terrorism masseurs to defeat terrorism.

LTTE's terror attacks will only strengthen the governments' resolve to defeat terrorism and restore normalcy in the North and East.

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President urges restraint

President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday that the LTTE motive behind the twin bomb blast in Nittambuwa and Telwatta was to create a backlash in the South and urged the public to exercise restraint.

"Through these attacks, the LTTE has attempted to thwart the Government's efforts to find a peaceful solution to the grievances of Tamil community," the President said in a statement.

General public must exercise patience, he said, urging them to extend their support to the Police and Security Forces to prevent the repeat of such attacks in the future.

He urged the people, especially the employees in public transport services, to be vigilant.

The President extended his condolence to the relatives of the victims of the twine bomb blasts, which shocked the nation.


Japan condemns terror attacks

Japan condemns in its strongest terms the series of bomb attacks on civilian buses which took place in the evening of 05 January in Nittambuwa and in the afternoon of 06 January in Godagama, which deprived the lives of 21 people in total and injured many others. While expressing sympathy for those who lost lives and those who got injured in the attacks, Japan states that these attacks which deliberately target innocent common people must be condemned as cowardly acts of terrorism and such incidents must not be repeated in future.


Defence Sec. urges public to be vigilant

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday warned public not fall into LTTE tactics after the back to back bomb explosions at Nittamuwa and Thelwatte.

In less than 24 hours after Friday's bomb blast at Nittambuwa, 15 passengers including women and children were killed yesterday at Godagamma in a similar explosion inside a packed private bus.

The Defence Secretary said the LTTE has changed its strategy now as they are being defeated militarily. "Each time they get defeated and lose control, they resort to these type of acts targeting civilians. They expect to bring pressure on the political leadership with attacks on civilian targets. All what the LTTE want is to put innocent civilians in trouble and create chaos," he explained.

"I urge the public not to fall into this LTTE trap. They should act in a responsible manner and cooperate with the Police and security forces to minimise acts," the Defence Secretary urged.

He requested such the public to be vigilant. Rajapaksa stressed the need to go ahead with the Vigilant Committees. "We proposed to form Vigilant Committees. I hope the Police has taken necessary action in this regard. This is the best way to support the security forces to end attacks a civilians," the Defence Secretary said.


Compensation to families of bomb victims

The Government decided yesterday to pay compensation to the relatives of the victims of the two bomb explosions at Nittambuwa and Seenigama. This would be implemented under the Jatika Saviya program, said a Presidential Secretariat press release.

A Government delegation which met the family members of the victims of Nittambuwa explosion paid them compensation for Rs.50,000 each. Meanwhile a urgent meeting was presided by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to brief the security situation in the country after the LTTE blasted two passengers buses targeting civilians on Friday and Saturday at Nittambuwa and Seenigama.

 

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