Sri Lanka President orders systematic investigation into the blast

Sept 17, Colombo: Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed the acting Defence Secretary Lalith Weerathunge and the Inspector General of Police Mahinda Balasuriya today to conduct an immediate systematic investigation into the explosion in Karadiyanaru in Eastern Sri Lanka.

The President, who is currently in the United States, expressed his condolences to the family members of the victims of the explosion. The President is now on a private visit to the US. He is scheduled to participate in the 65th United Nations General Assembly next week.

The Chinese Ambassador and Sri Lanka Prime Minister visited the scene of destruction. The Chinese government is also conducting a probe into the blast.

Local media released conflicting numbers of casualties by evening with 25 deaths in the minimum estimate.

Military Spokesperson Major General Ubaya Medawala told media that the blast is an industrial accident and military ruled out sabotage over the explosion and also any political link.

According to the Military Spokesperson 16 policemen, seven civilians and two Chinese nationals were killed and 52 others were injured. The Karadiyanaru police station has been destroyed by the blast.

The explosives, to be used in the construction of Ampara-Batticaloa highway were kept at the police station for security, officials said.

The blast happened in the process of loading a conatainer of explosives into a dump truck. Some reports say a police jeep crashed into the dump truck causing the explosion and setting off another two nearby containers of explosives. -colombopage