Sunday, April 6, 2008

Minister and 14 others dead and 83 wounded in Weliveriya blast

Minority leader, prominent member of of the Government's peace delegation, Chief Government Whip and one of the most heavily guarded Ministers of the Sri Lanka Cabinet, Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle was assassinated along with 13 others at Weliveriya public grounds in Gampaha this morning. The Minister was at the top of the LTTE assassination list for many years. It was only yesterday that the Minister vowed to defeat terrorist and to hold democratic elections in the North.

A powerful explosion, thought to be triggered by a suicide bomber killed Minister Fernandopulle, one of President Rajapakse's confidantes and also claimed the lives a top Sri Lankan coach and the a famous marathon runner formerly from the Sri Lanka Army- K.A. Karunaratne or 'Marathon Karu'.

The incident occurred after Minister Fernandopulle, a powerful Minister who can speak four different languages fluently, arrived late for a Marathon Event at Weliveriya public grounds. He was scheduled to arrive at 6.30am but arrived only at 7.30am.

He finished addressing the sports enthusiasts at 7.30am and prepared to wave the flag declaring the commencement of the marathon. Only the words Ready and Set were to be uttered. Instead of the word GO, a large explosion was head, which blew the Minister and other civilians huddled together to pieces.

Highly confidential sources told DefenceWire that only the Minister's head and two arms have survived the blast in tact. Minister Fernandopulle, a devoted Roman Catholic who often made pilgrimages to the Our Lady of Madhu Church was killed on the eve of the Army's eventual capture of Madhu. The current death toll stands at 15 dead (including Minister and suicide bomber) and 83 wounded.

Defence experts told this site that the nature of the explosion indicates that the bomb was very powerful. The bomber's face is unrecognizable to the point that his/her gender cannot be figured out, although it is considered to have been a male bomber disguised as a marathon runner. How he came to conceal and detonate such a powerful device in the guise of a marathon runner is still a mystery.

27 comments:

Sup said...

"although it is considered to have been a male bomber disguised as a marathon runner"

I thought the blast came behind of minister. Maybe I'm seeing it wrong. But the direction of the fireball is from Where Minister Fernandopulle was standing, toward the middle of the road :|

Defencewire said...

This is what police have claimed. All these stories are in dispute until its properly investigated. Army says it is impossible for this type of powerful explosion to come from a suicide jacket worn by a marathon runner. This has disputed the marathon runner suicide bomber story further. Others say he was standing behind the Minister. This is more likely considering the damage caused to the Minister's body.

chamal said...

"it is considered to have been a male bomber disguised as a marathon runner. How he came to conceal and detonate such a powerful device in the guise of a marathon runner is still a mystery."

How did they manage to hide a suicide jacket inside the vest worn by a marathon runner? Could it have been some new kind of jacket, and not the one usually seen... maybe worn around the waist or something like that?

Defencewire said...

chamal,
The police story of the Marathon runner doesn't seem right given our discussions with armed services personnel. Even if so many were huddled together, the marathon runners were still further away from the Minister and a suicide jacked exploding there couldn't have blown the minister away, except his head and arms.

Rover said...

Def.Wire,

Could it have been an RPG round? Because somewhere I read that I boy saw a parcel being thrown at the minister. An RPG round could have looked like a parcel to a child?

chamal said...

defencewire,

Thanks. That's what I was thinking.... if that story is true LTTE must have invented some new kind of explosive.

Maybe it's about time police stopped making public announcements without knowing the exact situation. This is not the first time either...

Defencewire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Defencewire said...

Its a suicide bomber, according to military sources.

Minister had come at 7.40, made a speech for about 10mins, crossed the road to talk with coach Alwis and then taken the flag to wave when the blast occurred. Therefore this looks like an extremely calculated and pre-timed attack. The agenda of the event, security detail, minister's arrival etc have to be obtained by the Tigers to plan an attack like this. The bomber and his handlers would have been following his schedule for some time and got inside info of the event.

Rover said...

"The bomber and his handlers would have been following his schedule for some time and got inside info of the event."

Dang, that is worrying.

chamal said...

{
"The bomber and his handlers would have been following his schedule for some time and got inside info of the event."

Dang, that is worrying.
}

This kind of event is usually planned for several months. Schedules and everything are prepared weeks beforehand. The organizers would want everything to be perfect, especially as a minister is coming. So they would have completed everything as early as possible and publicised the event very well too. Must have been a piece of cake to find a schedule, the security details can be found the day before or even that morning itself, detailed planning wouldn't have been necessary since security for the minister was not that tight. Anyway all this points to the fact that precautionary measurements were not enough (or not taken at all)

Defencewire said...

Fernandopulle was an active Minister. He usually never refused invitations. He was going around the country under the 'Maga Neguma' project. This type of activity can expose weaknesses in security and create laxes in the security routine due to stress, overburden etc.

Fernandopulle will be greatly missed.

Rover said...

Yes, Minister Fernandopulle was a thorn in the back for the LTTE, especially because of his active outgoing nature, proficiency in verbal expression, Tamil-Catholic background ect., and that is why he was relentlessly pursued by the terrorists and killed. There is nothing much to do, except to make sure that something like this doesn't happen again, implement rule of law against the perpetrators, and carry on.

C. Coin said...

DW,
why was minister a top priority target for tigers?

Chamila said...

According today’s “Divaina” (07-04-2008) the suicide carder wasn’t a runner. He was a civil person who has been hiding inside the cemetery nearby. He went to that place when the marathon has assembled. He was wearing a shirt and a trouser so anyone couldn’t suspect the bomb jacket. The security of that area wasn’t enough for the minister’s arrival. Because of that LTTE has achieved the target successfully. This is so unlucky. We should learn a lesson from these kinds of attacks to prevent further losses.

perein said...

DW-
I do understand and fully aware how good the current situation is compared to past few years. Below is nothing to take away from the good job currently done by all forces and intelligent sources.

Looks to me some how there was a intelligent failure from our side.We should looks for those wholes and close it ASAP.

Navindran said...

Perin when something goes wrong they point to the security forces. Alot of these events require an inside man. I think his religion is not important. However Mahindha has made a mistake of highlihting his religion in lieu of Madhu.

"The LTTE has repeated its brutality targeting a leader of the Catholic and Christian communities of Sri Lanka, who played an important role in bringing about greater understanding among the different communities of our country"

Hence if a buddisht or Hindu minister gets assaniated, it does not matter. He should be very careful of his words instead of trying to gain some milage.

Navindran said...

http://lankadissent.com/allnews/2008_04_06_07_news.htm

Pictures including the ministers remains. I am placing here for info but I do not reccomend viewing.

perein said...

Navindran-
My point is not towards a blame security forces at all. They are doing an extremely good job currently.
As for the issue related to latest Weliveriya event, it's something we should look at and close the loop hole we are currently having.
Unless we address those terrorist will come out using those holes.
I do agree with you related to religion/s comment, any religion should not be a part of the terror or security issues.

Ranil said...

navindran
agree with you on the religion comment. i don't see why they had to drag that in...
even the BBC report talks about that while cunningly avoiding that he is a tamil...
end of the day...a high ranked government minister was killed. And i think those who were supposed to protect him didn't do a good enough job for this to happen especially when they knew ltte was hell bent on taking this guy out...

Navindran said...

Defencewire, I hear that none of his bodyguards were killed. This to me is very strange because at all times one guy will be next to a minister. An example if some use a sharp object etc to stab the minister.

LKDOOD said...

Sri Lanka military says kills 49 rebels, bombs north

LINK

LTTE sets up base in US, says report

LINK

LKDOOD said...

United States Strongly Condemns Terrorist Attack in Weliweriya

LINK

LKDOOD said...

EU condemns suicide blast which killed minister

LINK

Pundey Eelam said...

United States Strongly Condemns Terrorist Attack in Weliweriya.

EU condemns suicide blast which killed minister


THATS THE ONLY THING THEY DO.
For Americans and the west it's War against Terror, For small Sri Lanka Peace talks.
PEACE TALK MY ARSE.

KILL KILL KILL LTTE DOGS.

Puffy said...

JF's death is something that should not have happened! Specially after the assasinations of so many prominent politicians by the LTTE... it's just a shame!

I blame no one, not even JF's security but only late JF himself for this tragedy!

He should have known better... it was not a secret that the LTTE was after him and we just gave them some much needed credit!

Dont hate me for this, but I wont be surprised if MR is the next victim... he just goes around so freely as if no one is targetting him...

Same with Lt.Gen. Sarath Fonseka, his visits to the nothern fronts have become so routine...

These 2 should understand that they hold the key to the WAR against the LTTE!

High time they act in a more responsible manner!

Pundey Eelam said...

I agree 100 % with puffy.
Avurdu Uthsava marathon, Why cant vip's avoid these kind of outings.
Just imagine if somthing happens to MR or Gota or Lt.Gen. Sarath Fonseka. This is a very important time period we are passing.
These VIP's should avoid these kind of outings.
I saw MR attending a Rugby Match.
Attending Funerals of Bomb Victims(Buttala and other). This is not the time to show Nice Gestures.
VIP's are crazy or what?

san said...

http://www.lankaenews.com/Sinhala/files/2126Jeyaraj_on_Road_J.jpg

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