Several dead in Sri Lankan bombing

Another 29 wounded after blast in the east, a day before landmark regional elections.

    The government has accused the LTTE of trying to sabotage regional elections with the attack [AFP]

    Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, a military spokesman, said: "There has been an explosion in Ampara town a little while ago. Eleven civilians were killed and 29 injured. It is definitely by the LTTE."
     
    The LTTE did not immediately comment on the incident.
     
    Unknown target
     
    Police said the target of blast in the crowded New City Cafe was unclear, despite a government minister's convoy passing through the area minutes beforehand.
     
    Related


    Timeline: The Sri Lankan conflict

    The injured were taken to the local Ampara hospital. Police said nine women and two men died in the attack.
     
    Fighting has intensified between the Tamil fighters and government forces along the northern frontier between the two groups in recent months.
     
    Security along the eastern coast has been stepped up for the elections in Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Ampara on Saturday to elect officials to run the eastern provincial council.
     
    The military had expelled Tamil fighters from large areas of the east, formerly a LTTE stronghold, in July 2007.
     
    'Hearts and minds'
     
    The elections are part of Mahinda Rajapakse's, Sri Lanka's president, government's policy to devolve power to minority Tamil areas, which they hope will occur in parallel with a military victory over the LTTE.
     
    Rajapakse has expressed his desire to win the "hearts and minds" of "liberated" Tamils affected by the war by devolving power.
     
    It is a policy the government also wants to take to northern areas held by the LTTE.
     
    Tens of thousands of people have died in the war in which the LTTE are attempting to gain a separate homeland for minority Tamils in the island's north and east.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.