Phone operators in Sri Lanka blocked all SMS text messages for 12 hours on Monday as the troubled nation celebrated the 60th anniversary of its independence amid tight security.

The island’s main mobile provider, Dialog, sent a message to all its customers in advance of the switch-off, warning them that the service would not be available.

“We regret to inform subscribers that SMS services of all mobile operators will not be available from 6 a.m. to 12 noon on 4th February 2008," the message read.

Officials claimed that the move was to prevent Tamil separatists from intimidating people not to participate in the state celebrations by sending threatening texts.

Unfortunately, the phone companies' action wasn't enough to completely halt the violence, as news reports claim between 11 and 17 people were killed as a result of at least two bomb blasts during the day.