Lanka orders probe to find out if blast caused by lapse

Authorities pressed earth moving equipment to clear the rubble from the explosion-ripped police station in eastern Sri Lanka.

Last Updated: Sep 18, 2010, 22:27 PM IST

Colombo: Authorities on Saturday pressed earth
moving equipment to clear the rubble from the explosion-ripped
police station in eastern Sri Lanka to search if any more
people were trapped in the debris, as President ordered a high
level probe whether the blast was caused by a lapse.

Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered a full-fledged inquiry into the
incident as the toll from the blast mounted to 26 which
included 16 policemen and two Chinese contractors.

Rajapaksa who is currently on a visit to the United States
has asked Inspector General of Police Mahinda Balasuriya and
the acting Defence Secretary Lalith Weeratunge to conduct an
immediate inquiry into the accidental explosion.

The President also offered his condolences to the families
of those killed and injured in the blast.

Meanwhile, the death toll in the blast rose to 26 with one
more person succumbing to his injuries. Over 50 persons also
suffered injuries with many admitted to the Batticaloa
hospital.

The probe will look into if the huge quantities of
explosives were stored properly as per the prescribed norms or
whether the dynamite and detonators were piled up together
which could have led to the blast.

Officials said the site was being cleared to see if any
more people were trapped in the debris or in the wreckage of
vehicles.

The blast created a ten metre deep crater at the
Karadiyanaru police station in Batticaloa, where the dynamite
meant for blasting road site had been stored.

Bomb blasts were a common phenomenon in the island nation
during the 30-years of insurgency by the Tamil Tigers, which
was eradicated after the decisive defeat of the LTTE nearly a
year ago.

But, the military has ruled out any sabotage in the
blast.

"We completely rule out sabotage. There is no threat to
security in that area," a military spokesman said.

Officials said a special CID (Criminal Investigation
Department) team has also been appointed to investigate the
matter.

They said government is also working on a compensation
package for the next of the kin of those killed in the
accident.

PTI