Journalist abducted

[TamilNet, Sunday, 14 March 1999, 07:40 GMT]
Srilal Priyantha, a well known journalist working for the Lakbima, an independent popular Sinhala weekend paper, was forcibly abducted from his home in Nugegoda, a large suburb of Colombo in the early hours of the morning today and has gone missing since then said his colleagues.

Srilal has been regularly exposing corruption and abuse of power in the Sri Lankan security forces in articles and news stories in the Lakbima.

In this Sunday edition of the paper, out yesterday, he had written a front page story that a senior Sri Lankan Army (SLA) officer, Brigadier Bandula Ranasingha had gone to a woman's house with a group of soldiers on March 8 and had severely beaten her up.

Srilal wrote that Brigadier Ranasinghe was in the practice of illegally lending money from the SLA's coffers for high interest rates to businessmen in Colombo.

One of these traders in Borella had not paid the interest for the money lent him by the Brigadier, according to the Lakbima story, despite threats to do so.

On March 8 the SLA officer had gone to the businessman's house and, after assaulting the man and his wife severely, had forcibly dragged away the trader who is still reported missing.

Srilal had further expanded on the events leading to the assault in an article on page six of the paper.

He had also accused the Police of turning a blind eye on such activities of the security forces.

Srilal Priyantha's parents lodged a complaint with the Police at Mirihana, near Nugegoda, that their son was abducted and has gone missing since the early hours of the morning.

Srilal's colleagues said this morning that they strongly suspected the involvement of some sections of the SLA in the abduction of the journalist.

They said they feared for his life.


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