Killing of journalist Sampath Lakmal: 25 questioned
COLOMBO: The Police have questioned more than twenty five persons to
trace the killer of journalist Sampath Lakmal Silva who was shot dead by
unknown gunman at Dehiwela on Satruday.
"We are trying to trace the killer on the information we have
received so far", the OIC Dehiwela Ranjith Kottahachchi said declining
to comment further.
According to him the killer had used a 9mm pistol to shoot Sampath, a
freelance journalist who had contributed to several newspapers and
electronic media, covering defence news. He had been shot four times,
one in the ear and three to the head. More than 25 persons were
questioned but no arrests has been made so far, the OIC said.
Police sources said they were trying to trace two suspected vehicles
and the telephone calls the victim received minutes before he set off to
meet someone on that fateful night.
Sampath was beleived to have been murdered on Saturday and the police
recovered his body on Sunday at Jayawardena Avenue, Karagampitiya,
Dehiwela. Three special police teams are now conducting investigations
into the murder under the instruction of Colombo South DIG K. P. P.
The Police teams are paying special attention to information obtained
from close associates of the deceased, his movements and the people he
Investigators who visited the "Sath Dina" newspaper office last
morning have questioned the newspaper's editor Srilal Priyantha and
obtained information relating to his recent writings and had questioned
about any known threats to Lakmal's life.
According to the Police, investigations have revealed the names of a
large number of persons with whom Lakmal dealt with. Police are trying
to trace a person called "Kumara" to whom he had allegedly spoken over
the phone on Saturday.
Condemnations of Sampath's killing
COLOMBO: The Jathika Hela Urumaya in a release under the hand of its
General Secretary Ven. Omalpe Sobhitha Thera deeply condoled the demise
of veteran journalist Sampath Lakmal Silva and vehemently condemned his
assassination by unidentified gunmen. It urges the authorities to
divulge the culprits responsible for this heinous act.
Lakmal, from his school days represented the interests of national
heritage and patriotism which were dwindling among the Sinhala people
and wrote sensitively against terrorism.
He was closely associated with the National Anti-Terrorist Movement
and the Sihala Urumaya and took pains to be in contact with security
forces to disseminate information relating to the security situation in
the country, said the media release.
The abduction and killing of this young journalist is a serious blow
on the free media movement and a great loss to the nation. May our
sympathies be with his parents and other members of the bereaved family.
May he attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana, the release said.
Sri Lanka Working Journalists' Association
COLOMBO: The Sri Lanka Working Journalists' Association has
vehemently condemned the killing of journalist Sampath Lakmal de Silva
and urged relevant authorities to launch a full investigation into the
killing and bring the perpetrators to book without delay.
The Association in a release said at a time when there is a danger of
the country being dragged into a situation of war reporting again it
viewed this killing as a danger signal to media persons in the future.
The tragic situation where various factions operating in the country are
choosing journalists as their targets is a direct onslaught on the
country's democratic process and the people's right for information.
The fact that not a single person responsible for the killings of
journalists in recent times had been brought before the law has drawn
the serious attention of the Association.
Journalists for Sri Lanka
COLOMBO: The Journalists for Sri Lanka convener Ruwanthi Kariyawasam,
in a release, condemns the assassination of journalist Sampath Lakmal de
Silva and urges the Government to initiate an extensive investigation
into the murder and bring the perpetrators to book.
Sampath was a freelancer who played a principal role behind the
screen to divulge to the world the atrocities and murders of the LTTE
terrorism and safeguard the country's security. He wrote extensively
about the enormity of the abyss to which the LTTE terrorists were
drawing the country.
He disseminated information relating to their activities among other
journalists. A few days ago he contributed to a weekend newspaper, an
article titled Royal comforts for Prabhakaran's children - canine
comfort for children of the Vanni" and also an interview with Karuna
Amman, the release reminded. Sampath's assassination is a serious threat
to other journalists reporting the security situation in the country.
The Journalists for Sri Lanka earnestly urges the Government to
ensure the security of journalists who report on the security situation,
the release said.
Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum
COLOMBO: The Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum (SLMMF) in a release
condemns the killing of journalist Sampath Lakmal de Silva.
The message: Killings have become daily occurrences in Sri Lanka
which indicates the breaking down of law and order. These killings are
just being reported in the media every day, with that the matter ends.
Nobody seems to care about it after that.
During the last few months many journalists have been killed. We feel
this is a direct threat to freedom of information and democracy. This
situation does not augur well for a democratic country such as Sri
Whoever the killer may be, it is the duty of the Government to bring
the perpetrator to book. It is not our intention to criticise the
Government but it should not leave a suspicion in the mind of people
that things have gone out of its hands, the release said.