Colombo Central Bank bombing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Central Bank bombing)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Colombo Central Bank bombing
Colombo Centrak Bank bomb attack.jpg
The Central Bank bombing was one of the most devastating and deadliest attacks that occurred in Sri Lanka during the civil war.
DateJanuary 31, 1996
Attack type
WeaponsBombs, guns
Non-fatal injuries
Suspected perpetrators

The Central Bank bombing was one of the deadliest terrorist attacks carried out by the LTTE during the Separatist civil war in Sri Lanka between the government and the Tamil Tigers.


The attack took place on January 31, 1996, in the Sri Lankan city of Colombo. A truck (42-6452) containing about 440 pounds of high explosives crashed through the main gate of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, a seaside high-rise which managed most of the financial business of the country. As gunmen traded fire with security guards, the suicide bomber in the lorry detonated the massive bomb, which tore through the bank and damaged eight other buildings nearby.[1] The lorry was followed by a three-wheeler, carrying two LTTE cadres armed with automatic rifles and an RPG launcher.

The blast killed at least 91 people and injured 1,400 others.[2][3] At least 100 people lost their eyesight.[4] Among the wounded were two US citizens, six Japanese, and one Dutch national.[5] Most of these were bystanders or civilians manning small shops set up near the bank. While the bomber Raju died immediately, the back up team Subramanium Vigneswaram alias Kittu, and Sivasamy Dharmendra alias Raju, were apprehended by law enforcement with information provided by the public.[6] Police and the security forces launched a massive manhunt for others who were involved in this terrorist incident. It was eventually determined the bombers had come from Jaffna, in the north of the country and were LTTE members.[7]

This bombing, and one in July on a train that killed more than 70, caused tourism to plummet 40% in Sri Lanka. Until 2006, the Central Bank bombing was the deadliest LTTE bombing of the civil war.

Suicide bombers[edit]

Attack was mainly carried out by three LTTE cadres. While one of them died immediately the rest were taken into custody by the police. The suicide bombers were:

  • Raju (main bomber)
  • Subramanium Vigneswaram alias Kittu
  • Sivasamy Dharmendra alias Raju

Immediately after the bombing several tourists and local and foreign travel agencies received calls from Ellalan Force, a front organization of LTTE, to boycott Sri Lanka.[6][8]

Criminal indictment[edit]

Eleven LTTE members were charged with the bombing of the Central Bank, ten of them were indicted on a total of 712 counts, including intention to cause death and committing murder, destruction of state property by attacking the central bank, and provoking violence.[9]

In 2002 Judge Sarath Ambepitiya issued an open warrant to arrest LTTE's exclusive leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran in connection with the 1996 Central Bank Bombing.[10] The judge found him guilty on 51 counts and sentenced him to 200 years in prison.[9][11]


  1. ^ "BBC ON THIS DAY | 31 | 1996: Fifty dead in Sri Lanka suicide bombing". BBC News. 2000-01-31. Retrieved 2017-05-31.
  2. ^ "BBC ON THIS DAY - 31 - 1996: Fifty dead in Sri Lanka suicide bombing". Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  3. ^ "BBC NEWS - South Asia - Timeline of the Tamil conflict". Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  4. ^ "South Asia | Timeline of the Tamil conflict". BBC News. 2000-09-04. Retrieved 2017-05-31.
  5. ^ "LTTE Explodes Massive Truck Bomb in Central Colombo". Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  6. ^ a b Sri Lanka's Ethnic Crisis & National Security by Rohan Gunaratna, ISBN 955-8093-00-9
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-02-05. Retrieved 2007-02-12.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "(K) Appendix B: Background Information on Terrorist Groups". Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Central Banking Publications Ltd". Archived from the original on 3 February 2007. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-02-28. Retrieved 2009-05-17.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-09-17. Retrieved 2007-03-04.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 6°55′57″N 79°50′38″E / 6.93250°N 79.84389°E / 6.93250; 79.84389 (Central Bank)