Interpol assistance sought

Following prolonged investigations to get to the bottom of the spate of abductions the law enforcement authorities have made a breakthrough into the recent spate of abductions, extortions and killings in Sri Lanka and have made significant arrests.

On June 22, 2007, the alleged mastermind behind the crimes, a former Air Force Officer was arrested by law enforcement officials. He was allegedly involved in abducting businessmen for ransom that ran into millions of rupees. Many Sri Lankan businessmen, mainly Tamils and Muslims have been reportedly abducted over the past year for ransom.

On June 27, 2007 law enforcement officials made a major breakthrough in their investigations when they arrested two policemen and an Air Force sergeant.

Sri Lanka Police had arrested a total of 12 suspects including four policemen, a former Air Force officer, and an airman, for alleged involvement in these abductions. The Sri Lanka Criminal Investigations Department (CID) is looking for several other policemen, who are alleged to have been involved in the massive extortion racket, according to official sources of the government.

While these criminal activities were going on in Colombo and its suburbs, abductions and extortions had also mushroomed in various parts of the country. In a separate development, police have arrested two suspects on allegations of extortion made by a wealthy businessman in Mawanella, in the Central Province. The suspects had been posing as security services personnel. The leader of the gang, a Muslim businessman, is absconding, according to the police.

Furthermore, on July 9, 2007 law enforcement officers arrested 8 most wanted underworld leaders in the suburbs of Colombo, for alleged involvement in a massive extortion and robbery racket.

The government of Sri Lanka is firmly committed to halting abductions, extortions and killings in the country as well as terrorism and to safeguard the right of the people to live without fear.

Media spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Jayantha Wickramaratna said on July 11 that the “police had received no complaints after 18th June on any such abductions”. He added during the media briefing that the police are looking for three more suspects, who had fled the country. He said, police are seeking Interpol assistance to arrest them.

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC

18 July 2007

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