Skip to main content

Second bomb blast in 24 hours hits Colombo

  • Story Highlights
  • Suicide bomber strikes in Colombo, injuring two and damaging store
  • Second blast in the capital in 24 hours following capture of rebel capital
  • President Mahinda Rajapaksa calls on rebels to lay down arms
  • Next Article in World »
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CNN) -- Colombo has been hit by a second bomb blast in only 24 hours following the fall of the Tamil Tigers' capital to government troops.

Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa has called on the Tamil Tigers to stop fighting.

Police and army officials at the site of a suicide bombing in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo Friday.

Two people were wounded and a store damaged in the Petard commercial district Saturday.

A day earlier a suicide bomber on a motorcycle blew himself up outside an air force headquarters in Colombo, killing two air force police officers and a member of the bomb-disposal unit. Another 30 people were injured.

The attacks come after President Mahinda Rajapaksa urged the Tigers to lay down their arms and end a quarter-century of civil war.

He made his call after government troops retook the separatists' capital, Kilinochchi.

In a televised statement Friday evening, Rajapaksa called the recapture of Kilinochchi "a victory against separatism."

"The time is not far off when people of the north can breathe freedom again," Rajapaksa said.

He invited the Tigers -- who have fought for an independent homeland for Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamil minority since 1983 -- to surrender as government troops closed in on their last remaining strongholds.

Rajapaksa's announcement was met with fireworks in Colombo, and Friday's news prompted celebrations in other cities as well.

The Tamil Tigers ran a parallel administration from Kilinochchi with their own police force, courts, prisons and taxes, and they had declared government plans to retake the city a "daydream." But after Sri Lanka launched a new offensive against the rebels in the fall, the insurgents moved their nerve center and logistics bases to Mullaitivu, on the northeastern coast.

Sri Lankan troops have been on the outskirts of Kilinochchi, about 580 km (360 miles) north of Colombo, for more than a month. They took a key highway junction and a town outside the city Thursday.

The civil war has left more than 65,000 people dead. The U.S. State Department has designated the Tamil Tigers a terrorist organization.

All About Sri LankaLiberation Tigers of Tamil EelamKilinochchi

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print