Attempt on the life of the Pakistani High
The great escape
It is a miracle how the Pakistani High Commissioner for Sri Lanka
Bashir Wali Mohamed escaped death by a few seconds as his vehicle sped
along Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha Colombo 3, around 1.20.p.m. last
As the vehicle passed a tri-shaw which was parked at Ananda
Coomaraswamy Mawatha, near a cross road all of a sudden it exploded
killing seven persons including four army Commandos who were escorting
the High Commissioner and injuring several others.
The Defender vehicle in which the five commandos travelled was badly
damaged in the blast. The four dead army commandos and seven injured
civilians including an army commando were rushed to the National
hospital Colombo by the police with the help of the people who gathered
It was subsequently revealed that the trishaw had been packed with a
claymore mine. People who went to rescue the commandos had to struggle a
lot to pull them out from their vehicle. The Pakistani High Commissioner
and others in his vehicle were unhurt.
The High Commissioner was on his way to attend a function at the
Galadari Hotel in Colombo when the mishap occurred. The reverberating
sound of the explosion was heard even as far as Fort and in
Bambalapitiya areas according to witnesses.
Police suspect that the explosion was triggered by a remote control
device by someone in the vicinity after being tipped off that the
motorcade carrying the High Commissioner was approaching the trishaw.
However the High Commissioner's vehicle was only slightly damaged in the
According to police one plausible theory is that some one had
followed the High Commissioner's car from the time it left his residence
at Wijerama Road Colombo 7 on that day.
Ostensibly some one had monitored his movements to plan this heinous
attack with precision although it misfired. But who could plan this
dastard attack on him and for what purpose.? What was the motive behind
it.? Of course these are some of the queries that the police will have
to look into in the course of their investigations.
Police however say the explosion bears the hallmarks of LTTE
involvements judging from similar explosions in the past. There is
perception that the assassination attempt was lined to the Pakistani
Government's willingness to support the Sri Lankan armed forces
logistically after the skirmishes between the LTTE and the government
troops erupted in the North - East recently.
The Colombo Detective Bureau (CDB) sources said that the trishaw was
badly damaged after it exploded. However the detectives were trying to
locate the engine and the chassis numbers with a view to trace its
In fact this was the first occasion where a trishaw was used to
detonate a claymore bomb in the heart of the Colombo city. According to
CCD Director, SSP, Sarath Lugoda around 30 persons had been questioned
in this connection but no arrests have been made upto the time of
writing this story. The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) is also
conducting an investigation with regard to the incident.
Meanwhile it was learnt that he trishaw was brought to Ananda
Coomaraswamy Mawatha about half an hour earlier by an unidentified
person. Owing to the powerful claymore mine explosion two vehicles which
were parked at Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha were severely damaged.
The petrol tank of a car exploded when it was engulfed in a ball of
fire. However contrary to earlier news reports there had been only one
claymore mine explosion. The second explosion was heard when the petrol
tank of the vehicle caught fire and exploded. A woman passenger
travelling in a vehicle died while the driver of that vehicle sustained
In fact IGP Chandra Fernando earlier cautioned the public that
trishaws entering the Colombo city from outstations posed a great
security threat. He said there was credible information that trishaws
were being used by the underworld gangs to transport dangerous weapons
A survey done recently had found that many trishaws that enter
Colombo from outstations were involved in criminal activity. He also
cautioned that the LTTE had a history of fitting petrol tanks of
vehicles with explosives that was hard to detect.
What is surprising is that Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha being a route
used by VVIP's to travel to the Parliamentary complex and elsewhere is
poorly patrolled by the police. Had there been adequate police patrols
on this road that day this tragedy could have been averted. It was only
last week that parking of vehicles on the roadsides in Fort area was
totally prohibited. Car parks in Fort and Slave Island areas are now
used for this purpose.
The recent detection of a haul of explosives at Wattala Mabole was
freightning beyond description. The explosives and ammunition found
concealed in a lorry include eight claymore mines, fifteen hand bombs,
one magnet bomb, two -T-56 rifles, three magazines, one pistol, a rifle,
ten bomb detonators, 500 ammunition and other accessories.
The two LTTE cadres who had travelled in the lorry had swallowed
cyanide capsules following their arrest. One person died while the other
was saved after being admitted to the Ragama hospital. It was
subsequently revealed that the explosives were being transported to
Colombo to stage a massive attack. However due to security reasons the
name of the place had not been revealed.