Wednesday, August 11, 1999 Published at 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
World: South Asia
Nine dead in Sri Lanka blast
A police search after an attack last month in Colombo
Defence officials in Sri Lanka say that nine policemen were killed and 15 wounded in an explosion in the east of the country.
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels set off a remote-controlled mine as a convoy of 10 vehicles was leaving Batticaloa.
After the explosion, a military spokesman said special security precautions would be taken by the armed forces.
Although Batticaloa is under government control, it is a volatile region because the surrounding countryside is under rebel control.
The BBC's Colombo correspondent says the blast represents an escalation of violence by the Tigers, focusing on carefully selected targets.
There have been a number of attacks in recent weeks.
On Monday, a suicide bomber killed a senior army officer near Batticaloa, in the Varakai army camp.
Earlier this month, 13 special task force commandos were killed in a mine attack in the north of the country.
And in July, a moderate Tamil MP was killed in a suicide bomb attack on his car in Colombo.
The attacks were all blamed on the Tamil Tigers, who have been fighting for a separate homeland for minority Tamils in Sri Lanka's north and east since 1983.