Islam is always accused, but here it happens "chez les auter" to stress vigorously that terrorism is not a Muslim product. It has no race and no faith.
Associated France Press (AFP) 13/4/2006
Market bomb kills 16 as Sri Lanka peace hopes dim
COLOMBO (AFP) - A bomb ripped through a vegetable market in northeastern Sri Lanka, killing 16 people in the latest of a series of blasts which raised serious doubts over upcoming peace talks.
At least 50 other people were injured in the port town of Trincomalee when a bomb fixed to a bicycle exploded, hours after a Claymore fragmentation mine killed two constables in the same district, police said.
An indefinite curfew was clamped on the area as rioting erupted after the market blast. At least seven shops were torched and several vehicles damaged, police said.
Mobs attacked two passengers of a van which was set on fire near the town, police said, adding that the victims were yet to be identified.
The government sent Industrial Development Minister Rohitha Bogollegama, who is also a government peace negotiator, to Trincomalee, 260 kilometres (160 miles) north-east of here to try to restore order, officials said.
They said President Mahinda Rajapakse had a telephone conversation with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and discussed the situation, but details of the discussion were not immediately available.
The government blamed the rebel Tamil Tigers for the blasts. There was no comment from them.
Thirty-seven people have now been killed in four blasts since Monday, dimming hopes for talks slated for next week between Colombo and Tamil Tiger rebels in Switzerland to save their tottering ceasefire.
The Dutch government, on behalf of the
European Union, condemned the latest violence and urged the parties to honour pledges made during talks in Geneva in February to uphold the February 2002 truce.
"Recent violent incidents illustrate a flagrant disregard for the commitments made by the parties at Geneva and place in serious jeopardy the upcoming talks in Geneva," the Dutch embassy said. "The attacks must be seen as an attempt to derail the upcoming ceasefire talks in Geneva."
It said the European Union "views the most recent attacks on the Sri Lankan armed forces with grave concern and is reconsidering appropriate steps."
The EU in October warned it would ban the Tigers unless they abandoned violence and slapped travel restrictions on the rebels after blaming them for last August’s assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar.
Troops this week resumed cordon-and-search operations adopted in December and January to deal with a similar upsurge of violence that killed 153 people, defence ministry spokesman Prasad Samarasinghe said.
"We are adopting the same measures we used to bring the situation under control in Jaffna in December and January," Samarasinghe said.
The United States, which banned the Tigers in October 1997, has condemned the violence blamed on the rebels and urged them to keep talking with Colombo.
It also condemned the killing of a pro-Tiger activist by a gunman believed to be supporting government forces on Friday.
Suspected Tamil rebels blew up a bus full of sailors in the northeast on Tuesday, killing 12. Five soldiers and two local aid workers were killed in a mine blast on Monday.
Sri Lanka’s largest single aid donor, Japan, urged the parties to go ahead with the proposed talks.
A Sri Lankan minister, Keheliya Rambukwella, said Colombo had acted "with maximum restraint ... it should not be taken as a sign of weakness. All that will be lost if they (the Tigers) go on like this."
Both sides agreed during their first round of truce talks to scale down violence. However, the Tigers accuse Colombo of not delivering on a promise to disarm rival Tamil militants, including a breakaway faction.
A meeting Wednesday between Tigers and Ulf Henricsson, head of the truce monitoring mission, ended without a breakthrough on reducing violence, official sources said.
Four previous peace attempts have ended in failure in Sri Lanka where over 60,000 people have died in three decades of ethnic bloodshed.