Colombo, Apr 11 (UNI) At least 12 Sri Lankan naval sailors were killed and eight others seriously injured when the bus they were travelling in exploded following a powerful claymore mine attack in the restive eastern Trincomalee district this afternoon, military sources here said.
''There was a column of buses carrying navy personnel on leave from the Trincomalee naval base and third bus of the convoy came under the powerful claymore mine attack by the LTTE. Twelve sailors lost their life on spot while eight others were seriously injured,'' Military spokesman, Brig Prasad Samarasinghe told UNI over phone.
This is the second claymore attack on government security forces within the past 24 hours in Sri Lanka's volatile North-East region.
Though there were reports that a vehicle, carrying foreigners, exploded in the blast and wounded two of them, the Military spokesman said he was unable to confirm it immediately.
Last evening, five Sri Lanka Army personnel and two civilians were killed in a claymore blast in the northern Jaffna peninsula.
The incident coincided with the funeral of a pro-LTTE Tamil nationalist, Vanniasingham Vigneswaran, who was gunned down by some unknown gunmen on Friday morning while he was on his way to a state bank in the heavily-guarded Trincomalee town.
A series of mine blasts and truce-related violence are taking place at a time when preparations are being made for the second round of direct talks between the government and the LTTE, scheduled to be held in Geneva from April 19.
On Sunday, the Canada government included the Tamil Tigers in its foreign terrorist outfit list.
UNI XC HS RK1555