March 2, 1991: Car bombing kills deputy minister in Sri Lanka

On March 1, 1991 at least 30 people, including Sri Lanka’s Deputy Defence Minister were killed by a car bomb in Colombo.

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA – Reaching for the stars is a good motto, even for terrorists.

Imagine that you are marketing a new product – let’s call it ‘Superwidget’. How do you go about doing that? Well, I am not a marketing ‘expert‘ but I do know that a lot of work and thought goes into choosing a ‘face’ for the Superwidget. The better known – and liked? – the person shilling for the new offering the more people will want to buy it, no?

Or so the theory goes.

Would you buy a car from this man (Photo: By Hamid Mir, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Terrorist organisations are somewhat similar. They strive to attack iconic targets (think 9/11) or kill important public figures. I guess they think this will get them more ‘likes’ on social media!

Take the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

On this day in 1991

At least 30 people, including Sri Lanka’s Deputy Defence Minister, Ranjan Wijeratne, were killed by a car bomb in the capital Colombo: another 172 were injured. While no group claimed responsibility, the LTTE was suspected of having been behind the attack. Wijeratne’s body was charred beyond recognition.

The carnage was unimaginable.

A witness

The LTTE was known for its ability to kill high-ranking officials (both Indian and Sri Lankan). Not a bad brand booster, eh?

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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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