Sri Lanka : international probe called into killing
Tue October 7, 2008 06:31 EDT .
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Sri Lanka's top opposition party called Tuesday for an international investigation into a bomb attack the previous day that killed a popular former army general and 26 others.
Retired Maj. Gen. Janaka Perera, who was a member of a provincial assembly representing the opposition United National Party, his wife and some party officials were among those killed Monday when a suspected Tamil Tiger rebel detonated explosives strapped to his body, the military said.
Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said the party officials were gathered to open a new office in the northern town of Anuradhapura when the assailant struck.
Tissa Attanayake of the United National Party said his party would not accept the government's explanation _ that the rebels were to blame for the attack _ at face value.
Ranil Wickremesinghe, opposition leader and head of the UNP, told Parliament that the government had not provided adequate security for political opponents, including Perera.
``The police have said that it was not informed of the party function. That's a lie. They were informed three days ago. But police did not provide sufficient security,'' he said.
The government denied the claim.
``The government has no intention in suppressing anything,'' said government spokesman Anura Yapa. ``We are doing everything possible to find out what happened.''
Monday's bomb attack came as government troops, in the midst of an offensive against the Tamil Tigers de facto state in the north, closed in on the rebels' administrative capital of Kilinochchi.
Tamil Tiger rebels have fought since 1983 to create an independent homeland for ethnic minority Tamils who have faced discrimination at the hands of successive governments controlled by majority ethnic Sinhalese.
The guerrillas are blamed for more than 240 suicide attacks.
Meanwhile Tuesday, former Tamil Tiger leader Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, also known by his nom de guerre ``Karuna,'' was sworn in as a legislator in Sri Lanka's parliament.
He returned to the country in July after having been jailed in Britain for several months for traveling on a false passport. After taking the oath of office, Muralitharan sat on the government side of the parliament chamber.
Muralitharan defected from the Tamil Tigers in 2004 with thousands of men and formed his own militia. The next year, his group joined the Sri Lankan government in its fight against the Tigers and helped government forces chase rebels from their eastern strongholds.
He later created the political party _ the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal. His party ran in a coalition with the government for elections in the tense eastern province and won control of the provincial assembly in May.
Meanwhile, fighting continued Monday around the de facto rebel capital, killing 23 rebels and one soldier, the military said in a statement.Discuss this story
Published: Tue Oct 7 07:40:37 EDT 2008