Top Lankan writer killed in mine blast

Award winning novelist Nihal de Silva was killed in a blast at Wilpattu wildlife sanctuary, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: May 30, 2006 02:16 IST

Nihal de Silva, an award winning Sri Lankan novelist, was killed in a mine blast in the Wilpattu wildlife sanctuary, 180 kms north of Colombo on Saturday, the state-owned Daily News said.

The author of The Road From Elephant Pass that got the Sri Lankan Best Book award recently, was among seven tourists from Colombo who were killed in the blast.

The military spokesman Brig Prasad Samarasinghe said that only the LTTE could have set off the blast, as only that militant group operated so deep (40 kms) into the jungle.

The blast was apparently meant to discourage tourists from going deep into the park, which the LTTE was using as a hideout. To ensure that all intruders were killed, the LTTE had strung together three pressure mines.

Ironically, The Road From Elephant Pass was on the ethnic question, and about the relationship between a Sinhala man, army officer Wasuntha, and a young female LTTE informant, Kamala.

It was the story of their danger-filled journey from Elephant Pass to Colombo through the Wanni jungles and the Wilpattu wild life sanctuary.

The Western Sri Lankan coastline north of Colombo from Kalpitiya to Mannar via Wilpattu is being used by the LTTE to land its smuggled armaments and explosives.

Recently, an explosive-laden LTTE boat blew up in the sea off Kalpitya after it was challenged by a Sri Lankan naval patrol.

First Published: May 29, 2006 20:27 IST