Sri Lanka demands security for envoy after Malaysia assault

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka on Monday demanded a swift arrest of those responsible for assaulting the island’s top envoy in Malaysia and asked for stepped up security for its diplomatic compound and staff.

Colombo called for a bodyguard for High Commissioner (ambassador) Ibrahim Ansar who was assaulted by unidentified men within a restricted area of the international airport in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Secretary Esala Weerakoon summoned Malaysia’s top envoy to Colombo, Wan Zaidi Wan Abdullah, and demanded security for Colombo’s diplomatic mission, the foreign ministry said.

"The Government of Sri Lanka insisted that immediate and swift action be taken to identify the perpetrators and legal action taken to the fullest extent of the law, while taking immediate measures to provide adequate security for the Sri Lanka High Commissioner," the statement said.

The ministry said it expressed "disappointment that Malaysian authorities had failed to provide the necessary protection" despite warnings of a possible threat.

It did not say who was responsible for the physical assault, but official sources said supporters of Sri Lanka’s defeated Tamil Tiger rebels had carried out the attack while the top envoy travelled to the airport to see off an opposition MP.

The envoy had been hospitalised following the assault.

There was no immediate comment from the Malaysian High Commission in Colombo, but the Sri Lankan foreign ministry quoted the Malaysian envoy as saying that the authorities had already arrested five individuals in connection with the incident.

Pro-Tiger activists had been protesting a visit to the country over the weekend by Sri Lanka’s former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. The attackers were under the impression that the Sri Lankan evoy was at the airport to see off Rajapaksa.

The envoy was accosted by a mob inside the airport and assaulted as he was returning after seeing off a member of the Rajapaksa faction in parliament. (COLOMBO, Sept 5, 2016)

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