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Sri Lanka dry fish buyer labelled ‘sniper’ by Maldives police

ECONOMYNEXT – A Sri Lankan man arrested in the Maldives in connection with an alleged attempt to assassinate President Abdulla Yameen has checked out to be a dry fish seller from the Colombo suburb of Malabe.

The arrest of the 27-year-old announced by the Maldivian Foreign ministry yesterday has raised a diplomatic stink and the Maldivian High Commissioner (ambassador) Zahiya Zareer is to be given a dressing down tomorrow.

Official sources said Colombo was "extremely unhappy" with the conduct of the High Commissioner who had failed to inform Sri Lanka about the arrest of the man which had been carried out on October 24.

"She had directly got in touch with the police and immigration to get a Maldivian arrested deported last week, but did not have the decency to tell us about the Sri Lankan in their custody," an official said.

Sri Lanka’s Foreign ministry announced on Thursday that the arrest and repatriation of Ahmed Ashraf, an 18-year-old Maldivian, was illegal and an internal inquiry had been launched to identify those responsible.

In the same context, the Maldivian High Commissioner is being summoned to the foreign ministry on Monday. "There will be a rap on the knuckles," the source said.

The Ministry has asked the Sri Lankan high Commission in Male to extend all legal and consular assistance to the man in custody. The man has had no military training and never been in the security forces.

However, he is supposed to have a trained nose to spot good dry fish and had gone to the Maldives on a mission to buy for the dry fish business of his father.

Sri Lankan military officials scoffed at Maldivian claims that there had been another attempt to assassinate President Yameen by using a stick of dynamite.

"You can kill some fish with a stick of dynamite, but it would be very difficult to kill a person, unless you tie it to the victim and set it off," a military bomb expert said.





He said the Sri Lankan experts had suggested that a blast aboard Yameen’s speed boat on September 28 may have been a bomb based on visual observations and not chemical analysis for explosive residue.

The FBI has said that there was no evidence to conclusively suggest that explosives had been used in the speed boat blast. (COLOMBO/Nov 08 2015)

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