Sixty people were feared dead today in an accidental explosion of dynamite meant for road construction in Sri Lanka.
Three containers carrying the dynamite, which were parked inside police premises for safety reasons, exploded in the eastern Batticaloa district.
The explosives were to be used for road construction being carried out by a Chinese firm.
Police personnel, civilians and two Chinese construction workers were killed in the blast.
The Batticaloa district is a former conflict area where the Sri Lankan government has initiated a major construction drive following the end of the war with the Tamil Tiger rebels last year.
The area was once controlled by the now-defeated Tamil Tigers, who carried out hundreds of bombings against government targets and civilians.
The Sri Lankan government has launched reconstruction projects to build roads, reservoirs and other infrastructure in the region.