A suspected LTTE suicide bomber on a motorcycle blew himself up in front of a heavily guarded police complex in the strategically located Vavuniya town about 250km north of Colombo on Monday morning, killing 12 police personnel and injuring more than 20.
Among those killed were three women police constables. Four civilians including a school-going girl were also injured in the blast.
The blast occurred at about 7.30 in the morning in front of the police complex, which houses the offices of the deputy inspector general and senior superintendent of police of the Vavuniya district.
“The blast occurred near the entrance to the police compound. Several policemen were coming out of the complex at that time and were on their way to report for their daily duties. Many were getting in as well. While the complex is heavily guarded, it also opens on to the main road, which cuts through Vavuniya town making it a very busy street,” military spokesperson Udaya Nanayakkara told HT. He added that the bomber was aiming at maximum casualties.
Once the suicide bomber reached the entrance, he braked and triggered the explosion literally in the middle of a crowd of police personnel; most did not have a chance to escape the impact.
The Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) said that the injured were taken to the general hospitals in Vavuniya and adjoining Anuradhapura. Nine police personnel died on the spot while three more died on way to the nearest hospital.
Vavuniya district and town are considered to be of strategic importance as they connect the north where the LTTE and the country’s armed forces are locked in battle and the southern parts of Sri Lanka. The way to many of the main battle fronts, like Mannar, cuts through Vavuniya.
This is the second time in about 30 days that a suspected LTTE suicide bomber has targeted the police. In the middle of May, in a similar attack, a motorcycle-borne cadre had rammed himself into a parked bus packed with policemen, killing several personnel.