January 27, 2000: Terrorists bomb post office in Sri Lanka

On January 27, 2007 a powerful bomb ripped through a post office in northern Sri Lanka, killing at least 10 people, including three soldiers

VAVUNIYA, SRI LANKA – Sure we all complain about the post office but bombing one?

“Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Dark Of Night Shall Stay These Couriers From The Swift Completion Of Their Appointed Rounds.”

So goes, allegedly, the post officer’s ‘oath’. It suggests that these stalwart public servants will stop at nothing to make sure we get the mail. OK, OK, nowadays that consists largely of bills, pizza place menus and other assorted spam, but you get the point.

Daily (?) mail delivery is a fairly recent phenomenon. Although ancient empires such as those in Egypt and China had well managed courier systems thousands of years ago, what we see as a normal service began, at least in the US, in the mid-1860s.

In many communities, the local post office is not just there for posting and collecting mail. It is the focal point for gossip and sharing ideas as well. Luckily, it is not normally a locus for terrorism.

Sri Lankans unfortunately were singled out in 2000.

On this day in 2000

A powerful bomb ripped through the main post office in the northern town of Vavuniya, killing at least 10 people, including three soldiers: security personnel, who made regular visits there, were the apparent targets.

It was payday on Wednesday, and everyone knows that the next day the army and police go to the post office to send money orders back to their families in the south.

local journalist P Manikavasagam

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were likely behind the bombing, as they carried out a campaign over several decades to win an independent homeland for Sri Lanka’s Tamils. Targeting soldiers is one thing, but attacking a post office and killing innocent civilians? Come on!

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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