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Six member Court of Inquiry to probe bus explosion

Army Commander Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake has appointed a high level six-member Court of Inquiry comprising senior Army officers to investigate the grenade explosion incident on board a bus travelling from Jaffna to Diyatalawa. The Court of Inquiry is headed by Major General Rukmal Dias, Commander, Security Forces - Central (SF-Cen) and Colonel Commandant, Military Intelligence Corps (MIC) and has been appointed by the Army Commander.

This Court of Inquiry is expected to investigate all aspects of the incident and submit its findings to the Commander within a few days, Military Spokesman Brigadier Sumith Atapattu said.

Brigadier Sumith Attapattu however, refused to comment further on what course of action will be taken with regard to the the soldier who is suspected of having had the grenade in his possession, adding that a separate investigation into the incident has been commenced by the Police.

Meanwhile, the Military Spokesman speaking to the Daily News confirmed that the names of the other serving members in the Court of Inquiry are Brigadier E.R.P Weerawardane, Brigadier Administration and Quartering, SFHQ-Cen, Brigadier P.M.L Chandrasiri, Commandant, Marksmanship and Sniper Training School (MSTS), Colonel P.P.A Perera, Colonel General Staff, Sri Lanka Army Training Command (ARTRAC), Lieutenant Colonel H.D.J.P Weeratunga, Commanding Officer, 7 Sri Lanka Signal Corps (SLSC) and Major N.A.B.M.S Nishshanka, Research Officer, Nuclear Biological and Chemical Wing at the Centre for Research and Development.

Meanwhile, the Police stated that the Government Analyst had confirmed that the fire aboard the bus in Diyatalawa was caused by a grenade explosion.

Among the 19 injured passengers were seven Army personnel, five Air Force personnel and seven civilians, according to the Police Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekara. A fire, followed by an explosion occurred in a private passenger bus travelling from Jaffna to Diyatalawa on February 21 around 5.45 am while it was plying in the general area of Kahagolla, Diyatalawa.

The police noted that after reaching Bandarawela town passengers bound for Diyatalawa were transferred to another private bus before the incident took place. However, the Police and Army denied any terrorist involvement in the incident.