The government managed to prevent an
exodus of people from some parts of the Monaragala district
after the LTTE targeted an SLTB bus carrying over 100
passengers. The blast which was followed by shooting claimed the
lives of 26 civilians. 67 persons including 10 school children
were injured and hospitalised.
The LTTE killer squad opened fire on the survivors while
there were struggling to escape. Later they shot
indiscriminately at farmers, while on the run, killing all five
of them in a nearby village.
Some of those who were seriously injured were flown to the
National Hospital Colombo while the rest were warded at the
Monaragala and Buttala Hospitals.
The National hospital dispatched a team of doctors with
medicines to Monaragala immediately after the blast.
As a precautionary measure all schools in the Uva Province
were closed yesterday until further notice. Police said that the
claymore mine had been placed by the roadside on a slope which
was not visible to passers by. Yesterday (16) marked the
official abrogation of the ceasefire agreement the Government
entered with the LTTE on February 21, 2002.
According to political observers the LTTE has resorted to
targeting civilians outside the North and East to divert the
attention of the Government which had announced that it would
end the LTTE terrorism during the course of this year.
Special armed forces teams combed the jungles around Buttala
in a bid to track down those responsible for the attack. Police
believe the gang is still in the area.
Meanwhile, around 9.30 a.m. another claymore mine was
exploded targeting an Army vehicle on the Kataragama-Buttala
Road. Three soldiers were injured.