• Give a Gift
  • Customer Service
  • Promotions
  • Videos
  • Blogs
  • Win
  • Games

January 16, 2008

When the Suicide Bomber Is a Woman

Share
menake waits in her concrete cell

Failed suicide bomber Menake waits in her concrete cell in Sri Lanka's maximum-security prison. She may face death by hanging.

Photo Credit: Mahesh Bhat

Special Offer

For three days last September, Menake staked out the tree-lined streets of Colombo’s richest neighborhood, home to Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake. Watching from the shadows, observing the prime minister’s mansion from all angles, Menake devised her plan. She memorized his comings and goings, the government sedan he traveled in. The neighborhood — a sort of Embassy Row filled with colonial-style mansions and expansive gardens — was protected by heavily guarded gates and security checkpoints. Menake took note of all this, looking for the weakest link.

Though she kept a low profile, her presence didn’t go unnoticed. For one thing, miniskirts and blue jeans dominate the fashion scene in this upscale area of Sri Lanka, and Menake dressed in a traditional shalwar kameez — a long tunic over baggy pants. In those clothes, she could have been a servant, but her face wasn’t familiar to the police patrolling the area. For another, her pattern of movement, unlike that of the servants scuttling between homes or to and from the marketplace, was unpredictable. She seemed to appear and vanish, only to re-emerge on another nearby street.

For two days, Menake skillfully evaded the authorities. But on her third day, as she made her final recon mission, she was stopped by guards outside the prime minister’s mansion. When her cover story — that she was visiting a sick aunt — didn’t wash, they demanded to see her national ID card, something all Sri Lankans over 14 are required to carry. When her card revealed her to be from Jaffna, an LTTE stronghold, the police took Menake into custody.

The cyanide necklace was her ultimate downfall. The macabre piece of jewelry — deadly cyanide crystals encased in a small glass vial suspended from a cord around the neck — is worn by every member of the LTTE. Once arrested, the wearer is supposed to bite down on the glass capsule. Through the tiny cuts in the mouth, cyanide races into the bloodstream and blocks the body’s absorption of oxygen, leaving the victim fatally convulsing and gasping for air. When the police saw the capsule, they beat Menake unconscious.


Share
This Is A Developing Story
Connect with Marie Claire:
Advertisement
horoscopes
daily giveaway
One (1) winner will receive a year’s supply of makeup products from Smashbox (ARV: $314) and a year’s supply of hair products from Herbal Essences (ARV: $104), as selected by the Sponsor.

One (1) winner will receive a year’s supply of makeup products from Smashbox (ARV: $314) and a year’s supply of hair products from Herbal Essences (ARV: $104), as selected by the Sponsor.

enter now
You Know You Want More
More From World News on Women
This Act Could Put an End to Anti-Abortion Legislation

Women's right to choose is constantly at stake—but this might the solution.

Yet Another Blow to Birth Control Coverage

The Supreme Court's latest decision will limit a key benefit for women.

California Audit Finds Universities Are Failing Students Who Are Sexually Assaulted

State auditor report says colleges must do more to prevent, respond to, and resolve incidents of rape and sexual assault on campus.

post a comment

Special Offer
Link Your Marie Claire Account to Facebook
Welcome!

Marie Claire already has an account with this email address. Link your account to use Facebook to sign in to Marie Claire. To insure we protect your account, please fill in your password below.

Forgot Password?

Thanks for Joining

Your information has been saved and an account has been created for you giving you full access to everything marieclaire.com and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your username and/or password or complete your profile, click here.

Continue
Your accounts are now linked

You now have full access to everything Marie Claire and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your settings or profile, click here.

Continue