EconomyNext – A Sri Lankan government minister Wednesday claimed the new administration had uncovered evidence to identify and arrest the killers of newspaper editor Lasantha Wickremathunge.
"We know how it was done, who has given the orders," Rajitha Senaratna, Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine in the new government, told a news conference.
Asked whether the new government had re-opened investigations into the killing of
Wickremathunge, editor of the Sunday Leader newspaper, Senaratna said: "Yes, we’ve got all evidence."
The new government was formed after the January 8 presidential poll in which Maithripala Sirisena of the opposition coalition ousted incumbent strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa under whose watch Wickremathunge was assassinated.
Wickremathunge, a strong critic of Rajapaksa, was killed on January 8, 2009 by armed men on motorcycles who surrounded his car in Colombo.
His killers were never found despite Rajapaksa promising an investigation.
The ousted Rajapaksa regime was accused of responsibility for the killing but they denied having a hand in it.
Senaratna also said the new government had re-opened probes into several other assassinations including that of three politicians.
They included the killing on 10 November, 2006 of Nadarajah Raviraj, a Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian considered sympathetic to Tamil Tiger separatists, and of Joseph Pararajasingham, also a TNA lawmaker, on 24 December 2005.
The third was that of then-Highways Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle on 6 April, 2008 in a suicide bomb attack blamed on the Tamil Tigers
"More evidence of these killings are now being unearthed," Senaratne said. "Special investigation teams are to be appointed to probe these killings."