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The BBC's Frances Harrison
"There was a huge explosion and then the music stopped"
 real 56k

Sunday, 1 April, 2001, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
Blast hits Sri Lanka concert
Kurunegala, Sri Lanka
The explosion caused chaos at the concert
At least 11 people have died and about 200 have been injured in an explosion and fire at a music concert in Sri Lanka.


I was sitting on the ground, enjoying the music, when there was a loud explosion and I suddenly found blood all over me

Gamini Kumara
Thousands were listening to the music of two popular Indian singers in a football stadium in Kurunegala, about 100km (60 miles) north-east of Colombo, when the blast occurred.

The explosion, which reports suggest was caused by one or more hand grenades or home-made bombs, triggered a stampede that led to the high number of casualties.

Explosions in Sri Lanka are often linked to the civil war between the government and the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, but police have blamed this blast on gang warfare or local rivalry.


"During the show, there were some clashes between two groups from rival villages of Kurunegala," a local police official said.

"We suspect the bomb attack had something to do with that."

Police moved anti-riot squads to the area shortly after the blast.

The local hospital said it was struggling to cope with the sheer volume of casualties.

Gamini Kumara, 16, who was being treated for head injuries, said: "I was sitting on the ground, enjoying the music, when there was a loud explosion and I suddenly found blood all over me."

The concert was organised by a radio network as part of a carnival to mark this month's traditional Sinhala and Tamil new year.

Hours after the blast, hundreds of shoes and pieces of torn clothing lay strewn about the stadium.

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