Chronology of LTTE terror: - Part 16
From the Daily News Archives
When the euphoria of victory dies down, and
together with it the media hype ceases, when the guns do not rattle and
boom anymore, and the sky, the land and the sea become calm and serene,
when tranquillity reigns through it is natural to live in the present
moment and forget the past. But one cannot live in the present without a
past. Nor can one envision the future discarding the experience of the
preceding events. Hence the Daily News is serialising the Chronicle of
LTTE Terror taken from our own archives which would remind our readers
how it all began. An awareness of the chronology of terror would help us
prevent the recurrence of such terror and frustrate any attempts by
misguided elements to repeat history to suit their evil designs. It was
not simple terror. Nor was terror sporadic. It was all pre-planned,
pre-determined, well-calculated terror. The victims were innocent
people. Though it is too many innumerate we would like to recall the
major episodes in the Chronology of Terror.
Twin explosions that rocked Trincomalee
June 12, 1986 was a Wednesday in the sweltering sun of the
Trincomalee town people moved about their usual business about the town
and there was nothing special happening. Some people from suburban
districts and remote villages came into this town for various needs and
tourists still came sight seeing especially to view the great natural
harbour named by the British as Trincomalee but its earlier name was
Trikonamalaya 'The triangle of hills" as the harbour was really divided
into three with three promontories though it had the largest mass of
water and was one of the deepest and large natural harbours of the
On this day suddenly the town and the harbour was rocked with the
reports of two huge explosions the second taking place one minute after
the first. It was on the inner harbour road that the two explosions went
off in two CTB buses. One bus was bound for Colombo and the other for
Kantale. The first shock over the police and the armed forces rushed to
the scene and scores of people were lying in pools of blood while four
or five people were propelled out of the buses into the sea as the road
ran adjascent to the sea.
When the police and some of the bystanders rushed to the two buses at
the first count they found 20 people dead and about 80 people injured,
some of them critically. The injured were rushed to the hospital but
later two more people succumbed to their injuries.
The year 1986 was the time that the Tamil terrorist groups were
trying to wrest leadership among themselves while the government of Sri
Lanka that had botched the whole issue especially after 1983 was blowing
hot and cold with India at times seeking the assistance of the good
neighbour to bring the terrorists groups to book or get them to agree to
some negotiations aimed at placating them. Though President Jayewardene
and the Minister of Security Lalith Athulathmudali were trying to
grapple with the problem it was becoming too ramified and too violent
for an easy resolution.
The continued killings of civilians always unarmed was the method
attempted by all the Tamil terrorist groups and on this day two time
bombs had been planted in the two CTB buses that were carrying only
civilians. Among the dead were 18 women and children and among the
injured were more than 20 women and children of all three communties,
Sinhalese,Tamils and Muslims As the very first reports of the tragedy
was out they said there were some foreign tourists in the two buses but
there were only locals in both buses. Though we got condemnations from
India and other countries immediately after the bomb attack that killed
22 people the patron of the terrorists the Congress Government of India
had not yet decided to look at our problem as one they had created.
India of course was to learn that she was wrong and paid a very high
price for supporting the terrorists who were at that time commonly known
Twenty two dead, toll may run higher:
Time bombs explode as buses leave central depot:
Trincomalee bleeds after terrorist attacks
In a savage attack on helpless civilians, the Tamil terrorists
yesterday blew-up two CTB buses within two minutes of each other in
Inner Harbour Road in Trincomalee, killing and wounding over eighty
Although the first reports placed the death toll at 15. National
Security Minister Lalith Athulathmudali told a meeting in Colombo last
evening that 22 people had died and the final tally may be even higher.
The minister said that the dead included Sinhalese, Tamils and
Muslims, ordinary people savagely struck down by terrorist bombs. He
said there were foreign passengers in the buses attacked but there was
no word on whether they were among the victims.
There was some confusion about the exact number killed with
Rupavahini placing the death toll at 18 in its 8 p.m. newscast. A senior
police officer who left Trincomalee at 3.30 p.m. confirmed 17 dead but
by last night a senior military officer said the figure was "around 22."
A 12-hour curfew effecting from 5 p.m. yesterday till 5 a.m. today
was clamped over the harbour town whose morning peace was shattered by
the two blasts which wrecked the two crowded buses.
"It's a miracle that anybody emerged alive," a witness who viewed the
twisted metal that remained said.
"Some of the victims were blown into the sea," a senior army officer
said in Colombo.
A policeman who was on the scene said that upto ten kilos of
explosives would have been used to produce blasts as powerful as
Among the first victims to be identified was Constable Fernando of
the Trincomalee police, travelling on leave to his home in Katana. Four
other off-duty policemen travelling in the two buses had also been hurt
and flown to the Sri Jayewardenepura hospital.
Dr. R. C. Rajapakse, the hospital's director, said they were out of
A senior military officer said that many Tamils were among the
Lt. Gen. Cyril Ranatunge, Joint Operations Commander, was in the
harbour town in personal charge of operations including containing any
The blasts rocked the town minutes after the two buses - one to
Colombo and the other to Kantalai began their journeys about of the
Central Transport Depot at about 9.45 a.m.
Doctors and medical supplies were flown to Trincomalee with the first
news of the attack reaching Colombo. Forty of the injured had been flown
to the hospitals in Colombo and Sri Jayewardenepura and eight to the
A'pura hospital. The rest who were being treated at the Trincomalee
hospital were either too critical to be moved, or had suffered only
The bombs were timed-devices and are believed to have been placed
inside the buses when passengers began boarding them. The explosions
occurred on Inner Harbour Road, when the buses were 200 yards from each
The Colombo-bound bus was directly opposite the office of the
Superintendent of Police.
Our Trincomalee correspondent said the usually busy town was deserted
after the incident, with offices and commercial areas putting up
shutters and school children being sent home.
He said the buses were total wrecks.
The latest terrorist strike is the seventh bomb attack since the
Airlanka Tristar was blasted at Katunayake on May 3.
Fifty three men, women and children were killed and nearly 250
seriously wounded in the previous attacks, which included a bomb blast
in a passenger train at Veyangoda on May 31.
The other explosions were at the CTO (May 16), Ceylon Cold Stores
(May 30), Dematagoda Railway yard (June 6). in the picture
One of the victims of the Trincomalee explosions is wheeled into the
Colombo General Hospital's accident service. Twenty seven victims were
Shocked survivors describe nightmare
In deep shock and obvious pain, survivors of the explosions yesterday
strove to recount details of the tragedy which had robbed a number of
them of their loved ones, at the Colombo General Hospital yesterday.
Chithra Pushpalatha a young mother and her toddler baby boy lay in
the same bed. "I don't know what happened to the other members of my
family who were with me", she said, tears filming her eyes.
She settled down in Trincomalee after her husband obtained employment
at the Prima Flour Milling complex. Her mother, three children, and
brother-in-law had boarded the Colombo-bound express, and the explosion
hit the bus minutes after it started on its journey.
"We first heard an explosion and saw smoke billowing from the bus
ahead of us. Our bus came to a halt, and there was another explosion. I
found myself trapped in the wreckage and managed to extricate myself. I
saw my son lying unconscious a few yards away. I don't know what
happened to the others,".
Sunil Gamini Monnekulame (32) had a choice of making the journey to
Colombo in Kachcheri jeep, or by bus. He got into the jeep and then
thought better of it and boarded the bus because jeeps were more prone
to terrorist attack.
"I made the wrong choice after all", the young man who is an
agricultural extension officer said. He had been unconscious for some
time and was in pain. Y. M. Tikirbanda the conductor of the
Kantalai-bound bus bemoaned the loss of his cremate, driver Hennanayake
who was killed by the explosion.
"I am sure the bomb was in the bag someone entrusted to the care of a
Buddhist monk who was a passenger in my bus", he said.
The first ambulances began rolling into the Accident Service of the
General Hospital which was in complete readiness for this emergency at 5
"We had the advantage of advance information of their arrival unlike
in earlier instances and were geared to meet the emergency", a doctor
A total 27 victims were brought in from the Ratmalana airport to
which they had been airlifted from Trincomalee.
The hospital was in a state of preparedness to take in more
casualties if that was necessary.
Deputy Director-General (Administration) of the Teaching Hospitals
Ministry K.D.I. Ratnasena, the Hospital's Director Donald Abeysundera
and Administrative officer, H.A. de Silva were on hand to supervise
Twenty injured in blast near cinema
At least 20 people including women and children were injured in a
bomb explosion near the Gaiety Cinema at Kotahena around 8.45p.m.
yesterday, police said.
Police said the bomb appeared to have been exploded to catch the
crowd streaming out of the cinema after the 6 p.m. show.
A senior official of the Government Analyst's Department who visited
the scene said the bomb was a "dashing" type similar to that thrown into
a Kotahena kovil last Friday.
S. Hamid, 21, who was hurt in the blast said that he had come for the
movie. He suddenly heard a loud blast and found a bleeding injury on his
A large crowd thronged the scene and police had to bring in
reinforcements. IGP Cyril Herath said that citywide checks had been
intensified and will continue. Two trishaws parked near the scene were
Tomorrow: MGR and New Delhi fail to convince terrorists
Two villages in
Trincomalee attacked (LINK)