The Pakistani High Commissioner , Col (retd) Bashir Wali Mohammed narrowly escaped a powerful Claymore mine attack in Colombo, Sri Lanka
COLOMBO, Aug 14, 2006 (AFP) - Pakistan's ambassador to Sri Lanka Bashir Wali Mohamed narrowly escaped a powerful Claymore mine attack in the capital Monday but seven others were killed, diplomats and police told AFP.
Ambassador Bashir Wali Mohamed was driving through the area when the blast occurred, police said, adding that a Sri Lankan military vehicle escorting him was hit by the explosion.
"The ambassador is safe. He is unhurt," Pakistan high commission (embassy) spokeswoman Suriya Jamal told AFP.
However four commandos guarding the diplomat were killed instantly, police said, adding that the other three victims were bystanders.
Eight others were wounded and taken to hospital.
Defence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the ambassador appeared to have been the target of the attack because there was no other VIP in the area at the time.
Pakistan also said he was the target.
It was the first time in 21 years that a civilian foreigner had been targeted in an attack in Sri Lanka's three-decades-old separatist campaign, after the kidnapping of an American couple in 1985 by Tamil militants.
Pakistan, which is the main small arms supplier to Sri Lanka, "strongly" condemned the blast.
"The attack was on our high commissioner who is safe but his car is damaged.
Three members of his security team were injured," foreign ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said in Islamabad.
The car was blown up near the Liberty Plaze roundabout, close to the first barrier leading to President Mahinda Rajapakse's Temple Trees residence, police said.
The diplomat's Colombo home is tightly guarded by security forces amid reports that he could be the target of an attack there, officials said.
The attack came four days after a powerful car bomb attack on a government Tamil politician.
The politician escaped but his bodyguard and two bystanders were killed.
7 killed in Sri Lanka car bombing
Pakistan ambassador escapes LTTE blast
Pakistan's ambassador to Sri Lanka Bashir Wali Mohamed narrowly escaped a powerful Claymore mine attack in the capital Monday. A car was blown up near the Liberty Plaze roundabout, close to the first barrier leading to the president's Temple Trees residence, police said. Hospital sources said seven people including three civilians and four army personnel were killed due to this explosion.
Monday, August 14, 2006