TITLE=SRI LANKA SECURITY (L-ONLY)
INTRO: The Sri Lankan government has lifted the
overnight curfew in the capital Colombo and its
suburbs after detaining hundreds of ethnic Tamils for
questioning. Vandana Chopra has the details from
TEXT: Government officials say the 12-hour curfew was
necessary because of recent suicide attacks by the
Tamil rebels. The curfew was lifted an hour and a half
earlier than scheduled.
Police officials say hundreds of Tamils have been
detained by police in the search operation that began
at midnight, Thursday.
Almost 5-thousand police and soldiers, combed Colombo
city and its suburbs after the government imposed a
surprise curfew when it received intelligence reports
that several rebel suicide bombers had infiltrated the
Witnesses say soldiers and police were cordoning off
select areas asking people for their identification
Banks, stock exchanges, schools and offices were
closed and Colombo streets had a deserted look as
nobody was allowed to enter or leave the city.
Government officials say the curfew was put into force
for the safety of the city's residents.
The security clampdown comes just after Wednesday's
bomb blast that killed 12 people and wounded 27 others
The explosion was triggered by a suspected Tamil rebel
suicide bomber near Prime Minsiter Sirimavo
Bandaranaike's office in Colombo. This was the third
bombing in recent weeks blamed on tiger separatists.
Last month President Chandrika Kumaratunga, was
injured by shrapnel in an assasination bid by a
suspected Tamil rebel suicide bomber, on the last day
of presidential election campaigning. A second bomb
exploded the same night
nearby at an opposition election rally. More than two
dozen people were killed and scores injured.
Tiger rebels are fighting for a separate homeland for
the minority Tamil commnunity in Sri Lanka's north and
07-Jan-2000 07:38 AM EDT (07-Jan-2000 1238 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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