Friday, October 20, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Suicide bomber killed, 24 hurt

COLOMBO, Oct 19 (PTI) — Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga today administered the oath of office to a 44-member council of ministers amid tight security after an LTTE attack in central Colombo that killed the suicide bomber and injured 24 others.

Despite the bomb attack outside the Town Hall, Ms Chandrika reached the President’s House in the fort area amid tight security and administered the oath to the new ministry, retaining the important portfolios of Defence and Finance for her Peoples Alliance (PA).

Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake, considered close to Buddhist monks, has been given additional charge of Ministry of Buddhist Affairs and Plantations.

Mr Lakshman Kadirgamar was retained as Foreign Minister.

Two key ministries were allocated to minority party allies — Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and National Unity Alliance (NUA) — which helped the ruling PA to attain a simple majority in the just-concluded parliamentary elections.

The two parties representing the minority Muslim community won 12 seats.

Mr Rauff Hakeem, joint leader of the SLMC and its sibling, NUA, was sworn in as Minister for International Trade and Commerce, Muslim Affairs and Shipping.

SLMC’s joint leader, Ms Farial Ashraff, widow of SLMc’s founder leader M.H.M. Ashraff, has also been made a minister. She would be sworn in after she completes the mourning period of the death of her husband who was killed in a helicopter crash two months ago.

The police, meanwhile, said a male suicide bomber, apparently waiting to target a senior politician or military official, blew himself up at 9.30 a.m. (IST) when police personnel attempted to check him.

While the bomber was killed on the spot, a number of policemen and civilians, besides US tourists travelling in a car, were injured.

The place where the blast took place was strewn with flesh and blood mainly that of the suicide bomber. The head of the bomber was recovered, the police said.

One of the injured US tourist, who was immediately rushed to the hospital, said she saw a convoy with heavily armed personnel pass through before the explosion took place.

Three of the five persons travelling in the car were injured, she said.

This was third time in this month, an LTTE suicide bomber missed his intended target and got killed.

Two suicide bombers, one in Colombo and another in Muthur in eastern Trincomalee district, killed themselves during the run up to October 10 general elections in which over 30 persons were killed.

The suicide bomber was pursued by plainclothes men who had found his movements suspicious and tried to stop him. The explosives strapped to his body were set off when the police outside the municipal office took aim at him and ordered him to stop.

The police said the killer might have been stalking a VIP or a military official, many of whom were making their way through the city to the President’s House for the morning ceremony.

Ms Kumaratunga, however, went ahead with the swearing-in ceremony of the Cabinet in which she has accommodated members of the minority parties and several of her own party members who had held junior ministerial posts in the previous administration.

Three former members of the main United National Party (UNP) — Ronnie de Mel, Wijeyapala Mendis and Sarath Amunugama, who jumped ship to join the PA before the elections, also reaped a rich harvest.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
120 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |