Colombo: At least 21 people were reportedly killed and 50 injured when a roadside bomb went off at 7.30 am near the Moratuwa University, 20 km south of the Sri Lankan capital on Friday. The bomb was placed next to a public transport bus on the Pilyandala Kaddupedda road.
"LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam) terrorists exploded a bomb targeting a crowded public transport bus close to the Shailabimbaramaya Buddhist temple at Katubedda, Moratuwa this morning. Twenty-one people, 13 men and eight women, were killed while over 50 were injured," the defense ministry said in a statement.
The bus was badly damaged and the ministry said preliminary investigations revealed, "the terrorists exploded a roadside bomb, which had been triggered by remote control".
Military spokesman Brig Udaya Nanayakkara said police and military teams have been rushed to the blast site to carry out a search, while the injured have been sent to hospitals in Kalubowila and Lunawa.
The blast is the third one targeting public transport within two weeks in and around Colombo, amid fierce fighting between government troops and the Tamil Tigers in Mannar, Welioya and Wanni regions in the north of the country.
On Wednesday, 18 people were injured when a bomb targeting a passenger train exploded at Dehiwela, on the outskirts of Colombo. Also on May 26, nine civilians were killed and over 90 wounded when a powerful bomb ripped through a crowded train coach, also in Dehiwela.