Island Cricket

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

England continue tour despite bomb blasts

England continue tour despite bomb blasts

Andrew Miller in Colombo

November 28, 2007

England's tour of Sri Lanka will continue as planned despite two bomb attacks in the capital, Colombo, on Wednesday, a spokesman told Cricinfo. However, the spokesman added that team officials would continue to monitor the situation, in consultation with the British High Commission.

The England squad is currently in Kandy, away from the scene of the explosions, which took place within ten hours of each other in the heart of the city, killing at least 16 people. The team is due to return to Colombo on December 6, ahead of the second Test at the SSC, but as yet there are no concerns about the safety of the players or travelling support.

"We have spoken to the High Commission and at present their travel advice remains the same," said England's media liaison officer, Andrew Walpole. "As things stand, this will not affect the tour, although we are certainly not going to be complacent about security and we will keep the situation under review."

The first blast occurred at around 9am, outside the department of welfare in the southern outskirts of the city. The perpetrator, an elderly female, died in the blast, along with the personal secretary of her target, the welfare minister, Douglas Devananda. The second took place in the city's busy Nugegoda district, when a security guard opened a suspect package outside a popular clothing store.

Security in Sri Lanka has been on high alert for several months, ever since the fragile peace between the government and the separatist Tamil Tigers began to crumble in early 2006. In August of that year, South Africa's one-day squad pulled out of a triangular tournament in the country following a blast that killed seven and injured 17.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo
It's impossible to portray my view on the history of this conflict without upsetting someone in the process. My intentions are not to talk politics but to provide the average cricket enthusiast with the current ground situation.

This conflict has been raging on for 20+ years, however tourists have flocked to the island for it's beaches, nature and hospitality. Sri Lanka is by no means a small island and the Central, Western and Southern parts of the island remain relatively safe.

The current spade of bombings were within the Greater Colombo Area - 115km (72 miles) from Kandy where the 1st test match is scheduled to be held.

The situation in most parts of Sri Lanka remain safe.


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