Breakthrough in Lasantha probe

Top Army officer recalled from abroad, soldiers under “close arrest”

A serving Army Major General, now on an overseas posting, has been re-called to Sri Lanka as CID detectives continued their investigations into the murder of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunga.

They want to question this senior officer, who had been dealing with intelligence matters, over evidence that has surfaced so far on the killing. He has been told to remain in Colombo until the process is completed.


The Sunday Times learns that a group of soldiers have been placed under “close arrest” at an Army camp, 58 kilometres east of Colombo. This means these soldiers cannot leave their camp.

According to authoritative sources, the CID has traced five mobile phones used to mount surveillance on Mr. Wickrematunga and to carry out his murder. They had been obtained under the name of a resident of a tea estate in the hill country. However, he had neither produced a copy of his National Identity Card (NIC) for the purchase nor used them.

Mr. Wickrematunga was killed while he was on his way to work around 10.30 a.m. on January 8, 2009. Four gunmen riding motorcycles blocked his vehicle before breaking open the window of his car and attacking him. Despite a three-hour surgery by a team of surgeons, he succumbed to his injuries.

CID detectives are also investigating the abduction, attacks and attempts on the lives of other journalists. “We are making significant headway,” a detective said yesterday.

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