Page last updated at 10:20 GMT, Friday, 28 March 2008

Sri Lanka probes 'bomber offer'

By Roland Buerk
BBC News, Colombo

Investigators at site of suicide bombing in Colombo (June 2000)
Sri Lanka has seen countless suicide attacks, blamed on rebels

Sri Lankan police are investigating posters that have appeared in Colombo urging would-be suicide bombers to change their minds in return for cash.

The posters carry a government telephone number but the military says the campaign is a hoax.

Sri Lanka has seen hundreds of suicide bombings during the war between the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels.

The posters have appeared in an area of Colombo that is home to people of the ethnic Tamil minority.

The text on the poster, beside a photograph of a suicide bomber's severed head, reads: "You were also born to live... Why should you carry bombs?"

Those contemplating becoming one of the rebels' so-called Black Tigers are urged to change their minds and call a government operated 118 telephone line.

Ten million rupees, or about $90,000, are promised to build a new life at home or abroad.

Devastating effect

Sri Lanka's military spokesman, Brig Udaya Nanayakkara, said the police were investigating the posters.

He said there was no answer when he had called the number himself and he suspected it was a hoax.

The Tamil Tigers have used suicide bombers to devastating effect during their long war for an independent state.

In February a woman blew herself up in Colombo's main railway station.

Among the dead were seven members of a school baseball team and their coach.

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