4 die as Sri Lankan rebels shoot at passenger bus+
Fri July 11, 2008 04:28 EDT .
- - COLOMBO, July 11 (Kyodo) At least four people, including a 9-year-old boy and his mother, were killed when suspected Tamil rebels Friday fired at a passenger bus in a remote rural area in Sri Lanka - 's southeastern Moneragala district, the police and the military said.
''It was obviously an attack by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam,'' Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara, the military spokesman, said. ''Nobody else could have done that.''
''Of the 25 wounded, four had only minor injuries and have been discharged from hospital,'' he added.
The Defense Ministry said the bus was heading from Moneragala towards Kataragama, a famous pilgrim center, along the main Buttala-Kataragama road 350 kilometers southeast of Colombo when it was attacked at 10:15 a.m.
''Security forces are engaged in extensive search operations in the area,'' the ministry said.
The area, where the Tamil Tigers have previously targeted civilians, borders the southern tip of Eastern Province, which government forces wrested from the rebels earlier this year.
The rebels usually use land mines in attacks, but Nanayakkara pointed out that in January a civilian passenger bus targeted with a mine was fired at after the blast, killing 25.
''We'll have to maintain a stronger presence in areas at risk,'' he said.Discuss this story
Published: Fri Jul 11 07:01:13 EDT 2008