ECONOMYNEXT – Two police intelligence operatives were attacked with knives and swords by six unidentified men in Sri Lanka’s Jaffna peninsula heightening tensions two days after the killing of two university students.
The government information department said two constables were hospitalised after the attack at Chunnakam, near the home of one of the Jaffna university students killed in an alleged police shooting on Friday.
Masked men travelling on three motorcycles without number plates carried out the attack when police tried to prevent them extorting money from a shop keeper at Chunnakam, the department said in a statement.
However, local political sources said the attack on the police may have been staged as a diversion from the alleged police shooting which led to the deaths of two students aged 23 and 24.
"It is near impossible for anyone to operate motorcycles without number plates in Jaffna unless they were linked to intelligence services," a source said adding that the incident should be more worrying for Colombo.
Tamil politicians have already called for a work stoppage in the north on Monday to protest the killing of the two students.
President Maithripala Sirisena intervened directly to stop police covering up the murder of two students and got five police officers immediately interdicted and had them arrested and produced before courts.
The police had initially attempted to dismiss the deaths as the result of a fatal motorcycle accident, but autopsy reports showed at least one victim had been shot in the head.
The Information department said a suspected former Tamil Tiger guerrilla was also killed in a landmine explosion in Jaffna on Sunday.
The victim had entered an area yet to be cleared on mines, the department said. However, the military had previously said it had cleared the entire peninsula of mines.
The Tiger rebels did not have control over the peninsula since losing the area in December 1995 and it was puzzling how land mines got in without the knowledge of the security services which still maintain a tight grip on the region.
Civil society activists led by professor Sarath Wijesooriya urged President Sirisena to make sweeping changes in the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) after accusing the army’s spy agency of causing rifts in the unity government.
He said the head of the DMI Brigadier Tuan Suresh Sallay should be sacked and alleged that he was wanted in connection with several high profile cases under investigation by the police Criminal Investigations Department.
Unlike previous leaders, President Sirisena retained the same DMI staff that had been appointed by his nemesis Mahinda Rajapaksa.
(COLOMBO, Oct 23, 2016)