Casualties in Sri Lanka explosion

A blast near the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, has killed six civilians and wounded 14 more and four police. The blast targeted a truck carrying police commandos near the suburb of Ratmalana, military spokesman Lt Col Upali Rajapakse said.

He blamed the separatist Tamil Tigers for the attack. The Tigers have denied any involvement.

Despite an official ceasefire, Sri Lanka has been sliding back towards civil war.

More than 4,000 people have been killed since late 2005.

“It looks like a Claymore mine was placed on the roof of a roadside shop and detonated with a remote controlled device as the truck passed,” a police officer at the scene was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

The commandos had been travelling from a training base at Katukurunda, the agency said.

They were travelling to an airbase at Ratmalana used to ferry troops and equipment to the fighting in the north of the country.

This is the second bomb attack in and around Colombo in recent days.

On Thursday a blast hit an army bus near the capital’s harbour killing one soldier and wounding three more. Three civilians were also hurt.

The rebels also denied carrying out that attack.

On the same day there was a bloody battle between sailors and the sea Tigers at a navy base on an island in the north of the country.

- BBC (29 May, 2006)

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