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 Post subject: Sri Lanka's foreign minister assassinated - Updates
 Post Posted: Sat Aug 13, 2005 1:24 am 
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Sri Lanka's foreign minister assassinated
Tamil Tiger rebels suspected


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The assassin Escaped - Owner of the house arrested
Similar to the plot in De Gaulle assassination

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The house from where the shots were fired.

The assassin had used the second floor of the neighbouring house owned by Lakshman Thalaysingham, a son of retired SP Thalaysingham to target Kadirgamar. On the top floor of this house police has found an empty 40 mm grenade cartridge and in the toilet from where the shots were fired they found a tripod about five feet in height with a seat fixed to it. Police believe the gadget had been brought in pieces and then assembled.

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@Photos: The Island

Investigators recovered five rounds of empty 7.62 ammunition from the scene. Police believe the assassin had used a Chinese assault weapon equipped with a silencer against Kadirgamar. The weapon had been brought in a box made to hold a pedestal fan. Police also found a cricketer bag kit with a sticker on one side declaring it the property of Lalith Athulathmudali Vidyalaya and on the other the name of a national cricketer Russel Arnold. It contained cheese, chocolates, murukku and bottled water. Thalaysingham had insisted that he was not aware of anything going on upstairs. He was subsequently taken into custody. Police believe that there had been at least one more person with the assassin. They appeared to have left from the rear door, jumped the parapet wall using a car parked there to get a leg up. A little distance away they had left a 40 mm grenade launcher and six rounds of 40 mm cartridges. A highly placed official acknowledged that the assassin had escaped. "He had ample time to escape," he said. The assassin could have moved to a safe house, most probably within the city.

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@ Photo: Sunday Times
(Sources: Island / Sunday times / agencies)


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The body of slain Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar is moved from Colombo National Hospital to the police morgue(@AFP/Str)

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We know nothing - LTTE
Denying any involvement in the assassination, S.P. Tamilselvan, leader of the political wing of the LTTE blamed Sri Lankan government and the security forces to immediately accuse the LTTE without carrying out proper investigations. “We strongly condemn this attempt to put the blame on us and we strongly deny any involvement in this assassination,” he told BBC’s Tamil Service. However, the LTTE did not condemn the killing of the senior minister.

It is the LTTE says the government
Sri Lanka's government say it does not believe the LTTE's statement that the organisation had no involvement in the killing. “We are not in a position to accept the denial of the killing by the LTTE” says the government. Speaking at a press briefing cabinet spokesman Nimal Siripala de Silva said " This is a violation of the ceasefire, a definite setback for the process and according to the information available at the moment it’s the LTTE”.


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Beyond a shade of doubt it was Tamil TigersImage

15Aug2005

Sri Lanka's government is now saying beyond a shade of doubt that the Tamil Tigers are behind the assassination. Even the evidence is now piling up against the LTTE. The Sri Lankan police told that it has conclusive proof that the Tamil Tigers were behind Kadirgamar's killing.

A sequence of events pieced together show that Kadirgamar's attackers had been living in an adjoining house overlooking his swimming pool for at least two days. A 7.62 mm rifle was used to shoot the minister at least three times. The weapon has not been not traced, though investigators found cyanide caspules and bullet casings from the area. The police have now nabbed dozens of suspects and are matching the DNA and fingerprint samples picked up from the tripod and bathroom window. The police say this is conclusive enough evidence that it was the LTTE.

"The LTTE used similar tactics when they killed someone called Robert in Jaffna two years ago. We have collected all the DNA samples and now have dozens in our custody. It's only a matter of time before we narrow down the culprits," said Chandra Fernando, IGP, Colombo.
President Chandrika Kumaratunga has now called on the international community to sit up and take notice. "The LTTE has denied involvement in the murder. Their denial contradicts the facts and our knowledge of their long held desire and repeated attempts to murder both my Tamil cabinet colleagues," she added. She also defied the threat on her life by attending the funeral ceremonies.

Kumaratunga directly blamed the rebels, who have denied any involvement in what analysts dubbed a stock disclaimer that few in Colombo believe. "Lakshman Kadirgamar joins a long list of distinguished Tamil leaders ... murdered by the LTTE," Kumaratunga, dressed in mourning white, said in a televised address to the nation on Sunday night. "This violation of the ceasefire is the latest in a continuous series of violations by the LTTE," she said. "I have taken many steps to ensure national security after the killing, but will that be enough?"


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Emergency Declared
"criminal and senseless" - Kofi Annan
"senseless murder and vicious act of terror" - Rice

In Colombo, soldiers started door-to-door searches for the snipers, while police set up road blocks and air force helicopters circled the night sky. President Chandrika Kumaratunga declared a state of emergency, giving sweeping powers to security forces to arrest and detain suspects. A close confidante of Kumaratunga, he was one of the most tightly guarded ministers in the Sri Lankan cabinet and had nearly 100 elite bodyguards deployed to protect him.

"It's completely insane, it is a major setback for the peace process," said Erik Solheim. In Crawford, Texas, where President Bush is vacationing, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said, "We condemn this outrageous and barbaric act" and offered condolences to the Sri Lanka government and Kadirgamar's family. Condoleezza Rice, who said she last saw Kadirgamar in June, said she was shocked and saddened by his death. "This senseless murder was a vicious act of terror, which the United States strongly condemns," she said in a statement. "Those responsible must be brought to justice."

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"It's the Tigers," - Inspector General of Police
"Terrible act of violence." - USA

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Sri Lankans buy the morning papers carrying news of the assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, an outspoken critic of the Tamil Tigers, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2005. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga declared a state of emergency Saturday after the assassination. (@ AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Lakshman Kadirgamar was at the top of the LTTE hit list. He was of the view that the LTTE must lay down their arms. He was fearless in his criticism of the LTTE and played a major role in the proscription of the LTTE worldwide. Kadirgamar always wanted to be known as a Sri Lankan rather than a Sinhalese, Tamil or a Muslim. Once he thundered at a press conference.

Kadirgamar, an ethnic Tamil, was a top adviser to President Chandika Kumaratunga in Sri Lanka's protracted peace process with the Tigers.
The Oxford-educated lawyer had traditionally taken a hard line on the Tigers, campaigning internationally against them and arguing against making concessions to them during the civil war. The Tigers have repeatedly warned that their patience is at breaking point and the truce in danger of collapse.

In Washington, a State Department official said the United States condemned "this terrible act of violence." "We call on Sri Lankan citizens to remain calm and to continue on the path of peace," he said.


Quote:
Sri Lanka admits security lapse

Snipers were just two doors away

Colombo - Sri Lankan security authorities admitted a security lapse on Saturday after the nation's foreign minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar, was assassinated by snipers' bullets. Police chief Chandra Fernando said the killers, believed to be two, shot the minister at his home on Friday from the upstairs bathroom of a neighbouring house which had not been adequately checked out by the authorities. "We are not able to cover all angles," Fernando added.

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Police Chief Chandra Fernando shows a photograph of the front of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar's private residence taken by a suspected Tamil Tiger rebel two weeks before Kadirgamar was assassinated. (@ REUTERS/Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi)

Fernando said Kadirgamar had rejected police advice that he leave his home for security reasons. He said he had surveyed the area recently and felt it was unsafe and also had received intelligence information that it was insecure. "I myself told him a few days ago it wasn't safe for him to stay in this house, but he insisted because he wanted to go there for a swim and he had his library there," Fernando said.

"We also had the problem with this VVIP (Very, Very Important Person) because he did not want us to search his neighbours," he added. Fernando said six rounds of spent 7.62 millimetre ammunition were found at the crime scene along with a 40-millimetre grenade launcher which was not used in the attack. Earlier, a senior police officer said the shooting raised questions about intelligence gathering and the screening of the ministers' neighbours as the snipers were said to have shot Kadirgamar from a house just two doors away. "Security was mainly focused on protecting the minister when he was travelling," said the police officer, who asked to remain anonymous. "Three days ago there was a move to increase the number of vehicles in his motorcade."


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From Iqbal Athas
Special to CNN


COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CNN) -- Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar was shot in the head Friday night just outside his private residence in Colombo and died an hour later after emergency surgery, according to hospital and police sources.

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The Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE) were immediately suspected in the shooting. Earlier this month, two LTTE members were arrested outside Kadirgamar's official residence -- about a kilometer away from where he was shot -- after conducting surveillance and videotaping the area.

Kadirgamar had just returned to his private residence late Friday for a swim, after attending a function for the release of his new book, police said. As he walked toward the house from the pool, a sniper fired three shots, striking him in the head and chest.

The shooting took place around 11 p.m. (1 p.m. ET).

He was immediately rushed to National Hospital in Colombo for emergency surgery.

A cease-fire agreement between Sri Lanka's government and the Tamil Tiger rebels -- which has been in place since February 2002 -- has been threatened by recent violence and the suspension of talks in 2003.


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Kadirgamar and German foreign minister Fischer

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Sri Lanka minister 'shot in head'

12/08/2005 - 19:27:17

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Sri Lankan government soldiers check the identities of passengers in a car in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2005, following the assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, an outspoken critic of the Tamil Tigers. President Chandrika Kumaratunga declared a state of emergency Saturday after the assassination. (@ AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Sri Lanka’s foreign minister was shot dead by one or two snipers near his home in the capital Colombo today, officials said.

Lakshman Kadirgamar, 73, was shot in the head and died at the National Hospital where he was taken for surgery.

“There was surgeries done, but the injuries were critical and he has gone,” said Media Minister Dilan Perera.

“The minister had just returned from a swim and was getting inside his home when he was shot,” a police spokesman said.

Kadirgamar was from Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority and was a close aide of President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who appointed him foreign minister in April 2004. He previously held the position from 1994 to 2001.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the shooting, which comes amid growing tensions between the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels amid a surge in violence in the volatile eastern region that has sometimes spilled into Colombo.


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Kadirgamar with Indian prime minister


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 Post subject: Obituary: Lakshman Kadirgamar
 Post Posted: Sat Aug 13, 2005 3:04 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2005 2:21 pm
Posts: 216
Location: Amsterdam , New York , Tokyo, Colombo
Obituary: Lakshman Kadirgamar

BBC
Published: 2005/08/12 21:14:39 GMT


Quote:
Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, shot dead in the capital Colombo, was a key political figure.

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An Oxford-educated lawyer, he served under President Chandrika Kumaratunga as foreign minister from 1994 to 2001 and again from 2004 until his murder.

He was a member of the minority Tamil community and a determined opponent of the Tamil Tiger separatist rebels.

Suspicion for the attack has fallen on the Tigers, for whom the 73-year-old proved a tough opponent.

Mr Kadirgamar claimed credit for having the Tigers banned in several countries, including the UK and the US.

Long conflict

A close advisor to the president, he was one of the most closely guarded ministers in the cabinet and had warned he was a potential target for the rebels.

He came from Jaffna, the northern heartland of Tamil separatism, but was strongly opposed to the militant campaign led by the Tamil Tigers.

He was a critic of the Norwegian-led Sri Lankan peace process, questioning whether foreigners could broker a deal with the separatists without giving too much away.

However, Mr Kadirgamar maintained that the country's three-decade-long conflict must be resolved peacefully.

Outspoken critic

Mr Kadirgamar made a bid for the top job in the Commonwealth in 2003, attempting unsuccessfully to oust New Zealand's Don McKinnon as secretary-general.

He courted some controversy during his political career.

During his first stint as foreign minister, he told the UN to stay out of the island's conflict and concentrate on "malaria and mosquitoes".

He also called an Australian decision to boycott a cricket match in Sri Lanka in 1996 after a bomb attack a "hostile act".

He was regarded as a world expert on intellectual property law and was president of the Oxford Union in 1959.


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 Post subject: United States condemned "this terrible act of violence&
 Post Posted: Sat Aug 13, 2005 3:14 am 
United States condemned "this terrible act of violence" - State Department

"It's the Tigers," - IGP

Sri Lankan foreign minister assassinated

Fri Aug 12, 2005 4:32 PM ET
© Reuters 2005.


By Arjuna Wickramasinghe and Simon Gardner

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar was assassinated on Friday in an attack the police said they suspected was the work of Tamil Tiger rebels.

"The foreign minister passed away," Justice Minister John Senevirathne told reporters. "It is a great loss."

Government officials declined to comment on who was behind the shooting, but Inspector General of Police Chandra Fernando blamed it on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

"It's the Tigers," he told reporters early on Saturday. The Tigers were not immediately available for comment.

Kadirgamar, an ethnic Tamil, was a top adviser to President Chandika Kumaratunga in Sri Lanka's protracted peace process with the Tigers.

The Oxford-educated lawyer had traditionally taken a hard line on the Tigers, campaigning internationally against them and arguing against making concessions to them during the civil war.

The shooting comes amid escalating tensions between the government and the rebels, who have repeatedly threatened to resume a two-decade civil war because of a rash of violence in the island's restive east that each side blames on the other.

Kadirgamar, 73, was shot just before midnight on Friday and rushed to the National Hospital in Colombo.

The hospital was sealed off as ministers arrived in the early hours of Saturday to visit before leaving without comment.

RENEGADES

Police cordoned off roads around Kadirgamar's house. Heavily armed police officers fanned out into the plush central Colombo neighborhood, searching the area. Helicopters circled overhead.

Police sources said two people had been arrested but refused to give further details.

Kadirgamar's killing came a day after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) warned that the government's refusal to hunt down and disarm renegades fighting a silent war with their cadres in the east of the island could rekindle a war that has already killed more than 64,000 people.

The Tigers accuse the military of helping a splinter faction led by a top former rebel commander called Karuna to kill their political and military members. They demand the government disarms them.

Dozens of rebel cadres, policemen and soldiers have been killed since a truce was agreed in 2002, and some diplomats and analysts fear the violence could spiral into an all-out war.

The Tigers have repeatedly warned that their patience is at breaking point and the truce in danger of collapse.

In Washington, a State Department official said the United States condemned "this terrible act of violence."

"We call on Sri Lankan citizens to remain calm and to continue on the path of peace," he said.


© Reuters 2005.


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 Post subject: Emergency declared
 Post Posted: Sat Aug 13, 2005 5:36 am 
Suspected Tiger rebels kill Sri Lanka's foreign minister, emergency declared

Copyright © 2005 Agence France Presse

COLOMBO (AFP) - Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, an outspoken critic of the Tamil Tigers, was assassinated by suspected rebel snipers, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency.

Kadirgamar, 73, was shot in the head and chest late Friday night at his tightly-guarded residence in the capital Colombo and died soon after in hospital, said army chief Shantha Kottegoda and hospital sources.

The killing dealt another blow to the shaky Sri Lankan peace process, and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan led international condemnation of what he called a "criminal and senseless" murder.

In Colombo, soldiers started door-to-door searches for the snipers, while police set up road blocks and air force helicopters circled the night sky.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga declared a state of emergency, giving sweeping powers to security forces to arrest and detain suspects.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who have led a two-decade campaign for a separate homeland within the island-nation, were the prime suspects in the slaying of Kadirgamar, military spokesman Daya Ratnayake said.

"We strongly suspect the Tigers because he had threats from the LTTE," Ratnayake said. "Two weeks ago, too, we arrested two suspected LTTE men who had been spying on the minister."

Ratnayake said the authorities were, however, keeping an "open mind" in the investigation that would be led by police chief Chandra Fernando.

There was no immediate reaction from the LTTE.

The assassination further imperils a three-year-old ceasefire that has already been rocked by increased violence in recent months.

"It's completely insane, it is a major setback for the peace process," said Erik Solheim, the top Norwegian envoy trying to engineer a lasting peace deal between the government and the LTTE.

"The identity (of the assassins) is not clear, but it is evident that suspicion will fall first on the Tamil Tigers," he told AFP in Oslo.

Kadirgamar had been a key figure in Kumaratunga's government, leading an international campaign against the Tigers, who have been outlawed in several countries, including the United States and Britain.

Oxford-educated Kadirgamar had been foreign minister under Kumaratunga since 1994, with a break between 2001 and 2004, and claimed credit for getting the Tigers declared a terrorist organisation abroad.

The minister had attended an official function Friday and driven back to his home in Colombo's upmarket Cinnamon Gardens district for a swim when he was shot twice despite a high level of guards posted at his home, officials said.

The veteran minister was rushed to the National Hospital, where four neurosurgeons and cardiothoracic surgeons struggled for 70 minutes to save his life, hospital spokeswoman Pushpa Soysa told AFP.

Kadirgamar was the most senior Sri Lankan leader to be assassinated since a bomb attack killed president Ranasinghe Premadasa in May 1993.

A close confidante of Kumaratunga, he was one of the most tightly guarded ministers in the Sri Lankan cabinet and had nearly 100 elite bodyguards deployed to protect him.

Only days earlier police had drawn up plans to further improve Kadirgamar's security with the deployment of additional guards.

Kumaratunga herself escaped an assassination attempt but lost her right eye in the December 1999 bomb attack blamed on the Tigers.

She however went on to invite Norway to help bring the rebels to the peace table in January 2000, leading to the ceasefire agreed three years ago.

Kadirgamar, himself a member of the minority Tamil community and a native of Jaffna, the heartland of Tamil separatism in the island's north, was a vociferous opponent of the Tamil Tiger rebels.

The Tigers refused to acknowledge him as a member of their community and dubbed him a traitor to their cause of setting up a separate homeland for mainly Hindu Tamils within majority-Buddhist and Singhalese Sri Lanka.


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 Post subject: A friend lost, but Lanka ties to remain intact
 Post Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 8:34 am 
A friend lost, but Lanka ties to remain intact


Political Bureau
© 2005: Indian Express Newspapers


New Delhi August 13 The brutal assassination of Lanka foreign minister Laxman Kadirgamar in Colombo on Friday night has not only jeopardised the ceasefire between LTTE and Sri Lankan government but could also force India to make a fresh assessment of security implications in its southern neighbourhood. Foreign policy watchers, however, do not believe Mr Kadirgamar’s death will really impact Indo-Lankan relations. According to Professor SD Muni, foreign policy expert and a friend of Mr Kadirgamar, the late foreign minister had done a lot to strengthen bilateral relations between India and Sri Lanka and hopefully his successor will be deeply involved in continuing with this relationship.

“Kadirgamar’s assassination inflicted a major blow to President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s government, which strongly depended on him to bargain peace with Tamil rebels,’’said Ranjit B Rai, independent security analyst.

Mr Rai was of the firm belief that Mr Kadirgamar was unlike some others who were more hawkish in seeking India’s support for Sri Lanka’s internal peace process, therefore this is a loss to India besides the great loss to Sri Lanka.

Former Indian high commissioner to Sri Lanka, NN Jha felt that Kadirgamar’s passing away won’t affect bilateral relations as the entire Sri Lankan leadership is committed to good relations with New Delhi. “This could embolden the LTTE and may give them the upper hand in negotiations with the government. But at the same time it would turn world opinion against them.” he said. The Indian government has strongly condemned the assassination of Mr Kadirgamar and reiterated New Delhi’s “constant and undiluted’’ support for the Island nation’s unity and territorial integrity.

Hoping that the perpetrators of this terrorist crime would be brought to justice, a statement issued by the external affairs ministry said India would extend its full support to ’’our friendly neighbour’’ in this hour of need.

URL: http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full ... t_id=99279


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 Post subject: SAARC meetings postponed after Lankan FM’s death
 Post Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 8:35 am 
SAARC meetings postponed after Lankan FM’s death

Daily Times Monitor

LAHORE: Pakistan on Saturday announced the postponement of the 31st session of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Standing Committee and 26th session of the SAARC Programming Committee, Geo news channel reported. Talking to the channel, Foreign Office Spokesman Naeem Khan said the meetings were earlier scheduled to be held in Islamabad on August 16 to18. He said that new dates for the meetings would be announced in consultation with member countries and the SAARC Secretariat. “This decision of postponement has been taken out of respect for the late Lakshman Kadirgamar, who made a valuable contribution as a member of the SAARC Council of Ministers in strengthening the SAARC process,” Khan said. He said the Pakistani government condemned his murder as an act of terrorism. Khan said Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri would represent Pakistan at Kadirgamar’s state funeral in Colombo on August 15.

Musharraf aggrieved over Lankan FM’s death: President General Pervez Musharraf offered his condolence over the assassination of Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar and called the killing an act of terrorism, reports APP.

Lakshman Kadirgamar was killed by sniper fire at his home on Friday. In a message to Sri Lankan President Chandrika Bandaranike Kumaratunga, Musharraf said, “the tragic assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar has greatly shocked and saddened us.” He extended his sympathy to the Sri Lankan President and the people of Sri Lanka over their national loss. He said that Lakshman Kadirgamar would be remembered for his vision and sagacity. “His contribution in securing peace in his country and in the region has earned him a permanent place in history”, he said.


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 Post subject: Chandrika moved to tears
 Post Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 8:37 am 
Chandrika moved to tears

Colombo, Aug. 13 (Reuters): President Chandrika Kumaratunga broke down as doctors battled to save her foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar after he was shot, an official said today as Sri Lanka woke up to its latest political killing.

Television anchors wore white, the traditional colour of mourning, and shocked Sri Lankans queued up to buy newspapers reporting the minister’s assassination. Kadirgamar, an Oxford-educated lawyer, never contested an election and never addressed a rally in a decade-long political career.

“It was such a shock, I am still recovering. He was undoubtedly Sri Lanka’s best statesman ever,” said Shanthini Anthony, a 32-year old university lecturer, who like Kadirgamar is from Sri Lanka’s minority Tamil community. Kadirgamar was instrumental in getting the Tigers outlawed as a terrorist organisation by the US and Britain and was long seen as a prime target. A team of over 100 elite commandos and soldiers stood guard around him everywhere he went. It was not immediately clear how his killer found a window.

“I was absolutely shocked. There was this business of him being a target, but I never expected this to happen,” lamented Dr D.A.A. Perera as he read the morning newspaper.

Kumaratunga cried as surgeons at Colombo’s National Hospital tried to save Kadirgamar's life, a junior minister said on condition of anonymity. Kadir, as he was known to the media and his friends, was a top adviser to Kumaratunga in a protracted effort to bring about a permanent peace with the Tigers, whose two-decade war for a separate state is in limbo thanks to the ceasefire.

Hardliners from his own Tamil community called him a traitor. “His acts were considered to be treacherous towards the Tamils from the very beginning,” said M.K. Sivajilingam, a MP for the Tiger-backed Tamil National Alliance.


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 Post subject: Sri Lanka admits security lapse
 Post Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 8:41 am 
Sri Lanka admits security lapse

13/08/2005 21:57 - (SA)
@News24.com


Colombo - Sri Lankan security authorities admitted a security lapse on Saturday after the nation's foreign minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar, was assassinated by snipers' bullets.

Police chief Chandra Fernando said the killers, believed to be two, shot the minister at his home on Friday from the upstairs bathroom of a neighbouring house which had not been adequately checked out by the authorities.

"We are not able to cover all angles," Fernando added.

Kadirgamar, 73, a leading critic of the Tamil Tiger rebels who were immediately blamed for the attack, was shot in his head and chest on Friday evening and died later in hospital.

The Tigers, who have been waging a three-decade campaign for a separate Tamil homeland, have denied involvement in the killing of Kadirgamar, who was gunned down after emerging from the swimming pool at his home in a posh quarter of the capital Colombo.

Kadirgamar, an ethnic Tamil who was a strong critic of the rebels, had been seen as a prime target for attack by the guerrillas and was the most tightly guarded minister in the cabinet after President Chandrika Kumaratunga.

Fernando said Kadirgamar had rejected police advice that he leave his home for security reasons. He said he had surveyed the area recently and felt it was unsafe and also had received intelligence information that it was insecure.

State of emergency

"I myself told him a few days ago it wasn't safe for him to stay in this house, but he insisted because he wanted to go there for a swim and he had his library there," Fernando said.

"We also had the problem with this VVIP (Very, Very Important Person) because he did not want us to search his neighbours," he added.

Fernando said six rounds of spent 7.62 millimetre ammunition were found at the crime scene along with a 40-millimetre grenade launcher which was not used in the attack.

Some 1 000 policemen had been deployed to search the area to track down the murder weapons, Fernando said.

Earlier, a senior police officer said the shooting raised questions about intelligence gathering and the screening of the ministers' neighbours as the snipers were said to have shot Kadirgamar from a house just two doors away.

"Security was mainly focused on protecting the minister when he was travelling," said the police officer, who asked to remain anonymous. "Three days ago there was a move to increase the number of vehicles in his motorcade."

The minister had over 100 bodyguards assigned from the military as well as the elite Ministerial Security Division. They were backed up by intelligence units of the police and the army.

President Kumaratunga, who narrowly escaped assassination in a suicide bombing blamed on Tiger rebels in December 1999, declared a state of emergency after Kadirgamar's killing.


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 Post subject: Shocked India pledges full support
 Post Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2005 1:55 am 
Quote:
Shocked India pledges full support

Sunday Times / 14Aug2005

Pledging its full support to Sri Lanka in its hour of need, India has condemned unreservedly the assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar.

A Government statement issued in New Delhi yesterday said:

“We have learnt with deep shock and profound grief of the brutal assassination of Sri Lanka’s distinguished Foreign Minister and long-standing friend of India, Lakshman Kadirgamar. This has been a heinous act and we condemn it unreservedly. We hope that the perpetrators of this terrorist crime will be brought to justice.

“We have every confidence that Government and friendly people of Sri Lanka will rise to the challenge and defeat the forces which seek to undermine Sri Lanka’s unity and political stability. India will, as always, extend its full support to our friendly neighbour in its hour of need.

The Government of India's support for the unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka remains constant and undiluted. “We convey the sincere condolences of the Government and people of India to Mrs Kadirgamar and the entire Kadirgamar family on their irreparable loss. Our prayers are with them in their moment of sorrow.”

Meanwhile Indian External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh in a condolence message said Mr. Kadirgamar’s tragic departure from the Sri Lankan political scene had ‘created a void that will be difficult , if not impossible to fill”.
“Mr. Kadirgamar’s untimely demise is not only an immeasurable loss for the Government and people of Sri Lanka, but also for our region and for the cause of democracy all over the word.

The Government and people of India have lost a trusted and valued friend, who at all times, upheld the interests and cause of partnership and multi-faceted interaction between Sri Lanka and India with deep and passionate sincerity commitment,” he said.


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 Post subject: Read More
 Post Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2005 2:48 am 
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