Claymore explosion in Yala amid tightened security

[TamilNet, Saturday, 10 November 2007, 20:21 GMT]
At least one construction worker was killed and another wounded in a Claymore mine explosion inside the Yala sanctuary, one of the island's main tourist attractions, Saturday evening around 6:45, Police said. The attack comes in the wake of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa advising his political adviser and brother, Basil Rajapaksa, a national list parliamentarian, to set a Joint Operations Command (JOC) in Thissamaharama. Mr. Basil Rajapaksa led a high-powered delegation to Thisssamaharama earlier in the day and decided to arm Sinhala farmers, in addition to setting up a JOC.

The casualty figures could be higher, according to civilian sources.

Six persons were traveling in the vehicle that came under ambush attack, according to civilian sources.

Sri Lanka Army sources in Colombo were quick to blame the Tigers for the ambush that has taken place at Sithulpavuwa in Thissemaharama.

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Sri Lankan Inspector General of Police, Victor Perera, who accompanied Basil Rajapaksa to Tissamaharama, to attend a meeting, which was held at a school in the village where dead bodies of Sinhala farmers were located recently.

The killing of five villagers in the district has created panic among people in the south.

Fear gripped the villagers of the Moneragala district, which borders Ampaa'rai district in the Eastern Province and the Hambantota district in the Southern Province. The security there was tightened with effect from Friday, media reports said quoting Southern Deputy Inspector General of Police, Jayantha Gamage.

Sajith Premadasa, the main opposition United National Party (UNP) MP and the only son of late Sri Lankan president Ranasinghe Premadasa, currently representing the Hambantota district in the Sri Lankan parliament told the House Friday that about five thousand families in adjoining villages of the Yala sanctuary in Tissamaharagama were living in fear without proper security.

Chamal Rajapaksa, also a brother of Mahinda Rajapaksa and minister of ports and aviation as well as minister of irrigation and water management, addressing a meeting at Tissamaharama on Friday warned that an unidentified group is engaged in killing civilians in the south to discredit the Rajapaksa government.


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