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News Features


Senseless carnage!

By Pramodh Gamage
It was devastating to see so many lives brutally shattered in the bomb that went off in Nugegoda. Many, who were unaware of the untimely brutality of their death, went into the Nolimit store situated in the densely populated Nugegoda town to buy clothes.

Some were buying clothes for pleasure, some to mollify their desires, some just because their mom or dad told them but none knew their fate – fate decided by a bomb! Time passed unconsciously, the pendulum suddenly stopped swinging when a parcel was discovered that altered the fate of many.

The first person to enter the scene, jeopardising his own life was a man named Chandrasena, from the nearby three-wheeler park. When the situation was left unattended, the man took a brave decision to bring a police officer doing his job at the junction. The usually reliable electricity was down that day, as if the gods were conspiring with the hand of fate. When the police officer was inspecting the parcel, the man went to park his three wheeler in a safer place. Then came the explosion, an explosion claimed the lives of many innocents around 5.55 that evening.

People rushed to the scene of the catastrophe, horrified by the sight but determined to save as many lives as they could. “As soon as we got the news we rushed to the place. What we saw was devastating, I saw a man burning in fire crying for help. He was trying to walk to save his life. Dead people were on the counter but there was nothing we could do. We wish we never get to see such a thing in our lives,” they told The Nation.

At Kalubowila Hospital, Anula Marasinghe, a 50-year-old housewife who was injured, said she saw a man leaving a box on the counter and going towards Kohuwala. “I came to pick up my daughter who was after classes from Shakya Institute that is when I saw a man keeping a box on the Nolimit counter and going towards Kohuwala. When the police was checking the box we heard a massive explosion just after five minutes.”

Police officer
The officer-in-charge, of the Kohuwala Police Station, Prasanna Brahmanage speaking to The Nation said that the rumor going around that the explosion occurred due to the negligence of the police officers at the Kohuwala Police Station; is not true. He said that he got the message around 5:50p.m. and was just about to leave when the bomb exploded around 5:55p.m.

Eyewitness

The only person who saw the bomb and remains alive today is Chandrasena Perera a three-wheeler driver in Nugegoda town. He was close enough to give minute details to The Nation reporters. “I usually park my three-wheeler in the space given by the Municipal Council, close to where the bomb went off. When we heard about the bomb we rushed there. The Nolimit security team were evacuating people from the building. I went to call the policeman who was at the Nugegoda junction. He came to inspect the suspected parcel when he realised that the police who were informed about the situation were late. The parcel was found around 5:30 p.m. That is when the people started to panic. The policeman had no choice but to inspect the parcel. I was near him when he was inspecting the parcel. There was this small box inside a tulip bag. I then realised I should park my three- wheeler away from the scene. I went to park the three-wheeler and was just about to come back when I heard a huge explosion. I saw people burning, crying for help but there was nothing that I could have done, to prevent them from dying.

****