Sri Lankan minister escapes attack

Bomb explodes near a defence ministry convoy carrying the president's brother.

    Gotabaya Rajapakse, left,  went to see his brother, President Mahinda Rajapakse, after the attack

    Gothabaya Rajapakse, who was appointed by his brother last year, has taken a hard line against the Tamil Tigers.

    The suicide bomber apparently came on a scooter rickshaw from the opposite direction and targeted the convoy, Jayantha Wickremeratne, Deputy Inspector General of Police, said.


    Rajapakse was inside a bulletproof car which was flanked by two motorcycle escorts.

    The president's office said Gothabaya had gone straight to see his brother after the attack.
       
    "After the explosion, he directly came to the president's office and hugged him," Sudath Silva, President Rajapakse's official photographer, said. "The blood on his clothes was that of his security guards."


    The attack comes just days after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said that they had no option but to fight for an independent homeland for the Tamil minority in the north and east of Sri Lanka as the peace process was defunct.

    Police cordoned off the blast site and launched a search operation for an accomplice who may have helped carry out the attack.
      
    "We have asked police to check all vehicles leaving the city to try and track down the suspect," an official said.

    More than two decades of separatist violence has killed more than 67,000 civilians, troops and Tamil fighters, about 3,000 of those this year.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    Prince Philip has done the world an extraordinary service by exposing the racist hypocrisy of "Western civilisation".

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    There are a number of reasons why Beijing continues to back Maduro's government despite suffering financial losses.