Eight killed in blast at Army HQ; Commander injured
COLOMBO: Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka was critically
injured and eight others killed yesterday when a female Black Tiger
suicide cadre disguised as a pregnant woman, blew herself up in front of
the exit of the Military Hospital inside the Colombo Army headquarters.
Twenty seven others, most of them visitors to the Army Hospital, were
also injured, some critically. "The Commander is now in a stable
condition and out of danger," Military Spokesman Brigadier Prasad
Investigations revealed that the LTTE suicide bomber disguised as a
pregnant woman had been transported to the hospital premises from the
main gate in an Army vehicle. Yesterday was Maternity Day at the Army
As a practice, pregnant women entering the Army Hospital premises for
Maternity Day are not subject to stringent security checks.
She had walked towards the vehicle the Commander was travelling in on
his way home for lunch. When his personal security staff on motorcycles
tried to block the woman from advancing towards the car, she exploded
"The bomb went off in the 'rush hour' when family members of soldiers
were visiting their relatives, and officers were going to have their
lunch or were coming from lunch.
"There were also groups of family members of soldiers and officers
who had come for treatment," an officer at the scene said.
The official said they launched a search operation inside the Army
premises just after the attack as a precaution.
General Fonseka is the second seniormost Armed Forces commander to
come under a LTTE suicide attack after former Navy Commander Clancy
He is also the second high profile personality targeted by the LTTE
suicide cadres since the February 22, 2002, ceasefire.
The first attempt was made on Minister Douglas Devananda in July
A special team attached to the Criminal Investigation Department also
rushed to the scene to conduct investigations.