Centre for Policy Alternatives on 22 January, 2010

Presidential Election 2010: Media Communique No. 21

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Read the full report as a PDF here.

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Western Province

Bomb Attack in Colombo

At approximately 4.50am this morning, an explosive device was thrown
at the home of the Secretary and National Organizer of the SLFP Mahajana
Wing Mr. Tiran Alles, located at Galpoththa Road, Nawala, resulting in
severe damage to his vehicle and house. Mr. Alles and his family were
unharmed.

According to the OIC Welikada Police CI Neville de Silva a complaint
has been lodged in this regard bearing the number EIB/07/25.  SSP
Mirihana Division Deshabandu Tennekoon, the nature of the explosive has
not yet been confirmed, and the forensic report is pending. It has
therefore been identified as an explosive device. The Kotte Municipal
Council Fire Brigade said that two fire engines were deployed to contain
the fire.

When contacted, Mr. Alles told CMEV that at approximately 4.50 am,
his Security Officer Mr. Nalaka Liyanage had heard the sound of a
vehicle outside the gate and had seen something being thrown over the
wall, subsequent to which there was a large explosion. Mr. Alles added
that he suspects President Rajapaksa and Chairman of the JNP Mr. Wimal
Weerawanse of being behind the attack.

This attack comes in the wake of statements to the media yesterday
(21st) by Leader of the SLFP Mahajana Wing and Member of
Parliament Mr. Mangala Samaraweera, alleging a plot by the Rajapaksa
regime to assassinate Mr. Alles.

Southern Province

Attempted Murder and Assault in Matara

According to Southern Provincial Councilor Mr. Gayan Sanjeewa (UNP),
at 1.45am the vehicle (64-209) in which Mr. Sanjeewa was traveling in,
was shot at by a group of unidentified persons who arrived in 3 vehicles
(white car, white van, black double cab), resulting in damages to the
vehicle. The attackers had initially shot at the vehicle from behind,
while Mr. Sanjeewa was in the back seat, and subsequently shot twice at
the rear right door of the vehicle. Mr. Sanjeewa told CMEV that he
firmly believed that it was an attack on his life, but Mr. Sanjeewa was
not injured in the incident.

However, as Mr. Sanjeewa’s vehicle sped forward in order to escape
the attack the assailants had subsequently assaulted a supporter Mr.
Muditha Gayashan who was not traveling in a vehicle, resulting in Mr.
Gayashan suffering bruising. Mr. Gayashan is currently receiving
treatment in ward 3 of the Matara Hospital. Mr. Sanjeewa and his
supporters were in the process of decorating the road leading from
Kamburugamuwa to Matara with campaign material when the attack took
place.

When contacted, Official of the Elections Branch Matara Police SI
Chaminda told CMEV that the vehicle had 3 bullet holes and the weapon
used was a T-56. He added that as the attackers’ vehicle numbers were
not identified by the victims, the vehicles had not been traced as yet,
but that investigations are underway. A complaint bearing the number EIB
388/83 has been lodged at the Matara Police by Mr. V.A. Lalith
Anuruddha, Personal Secretary to Mr. Sanjeewa.

Mr. Anuruddha confirmed to CMEV that the initial shots were fired
from the back of the vehicle targeting Mr. Sanjeewa. He added that he
also heard the attackers yelling to each other to kill Mr. Sanjeewa. Mr.
Anuruddha and Mr. Sanjeewa both told CMEV that they suspect the UPFA of
the attack, though they did not name a specific person.

When contacted, a staff member of the UPFA Matara Office told CMEV
that they had not heard of the incident, and that they were in no way
involved. The staff member refused to provide his name or designation,
and no longer picks up CMEV’s calls.

Eastern Province

Grenade Attack in Batticaloa

According to SLMC supporter Mr. Buhari Mohommed Mubharak, at 3.00am
this morning, a grenade was lobbed at the front of his home located at
Chemmanodai, Ottamawadi, by unidentified persons, causing damage to
walls and windows of the house. No one was injured in the attack. Mr.
Mubharak added that neighbours had seen a motorbike leaving the vicinity
of the premises. He added that he called 119 at 3.05am, the Army
arrived on the scene at 3.20am and the Valachchenai Police arrived on
the scene at approximately 3.40am. Mr. Mubharak also stated that while
he had not seen the attackers, he suspected UPFA supporter Mr. Y.S.
Mansoor may be involved as Mr. Manoor had on several occasion tried to
get Mr. Mubharak to work for the UPFA.

When contacted, Elections OIC of the Valachchenai Police SI Bandara
Balasuriya confirmed the grenade attack to CMEV, adding that the damages
were not severe.

Valachchenai Police CI Kodisinghe told CMEV that a complaint has been
lodged in this regard bearing the number EIB 98-109. CI Kodisinghe told
CMEV that Mr. Mubharak seemed very afraid and did not initially name
the suspects, but that he subsequently spoke of several threats from
UPFA supporter Mr. Y.S. Mansoor. The complaint for the incident was
initially recorded as a GCR, but moved later to the EIB.

North Central Province

Shooting in Anuradhapura

According to North Central Provincial Councilor (UNP) Mr. Prasanna
Mahindarathne, at 1.05am this morning, a group of unidentified persons
had arrived in a van, parked in front of Mr. Mahindarathne’s house
located in Kalundegama, broken the lights on the gate, and fired
approximately 30 shots at his house. The majority of the shots had
struck a canter (NCLD 4377) that was parked in front of the house, while
approximately 4 shots had struck his house. One of these shots had
entered a room through a lattice. No one was injured in the attack.

Mr. Mahindarathne called 119 right away, but the Police only arrived
at the scene at approximately 2.30am. Mr. Mahindarathne stated that 3-4
soldiers from the Kalundegama Army Training Camp located in the vicinity
of his house, had visited his home this morning, and that they had
identified the weapon as being a T-56, based on the bullet casings and
the one bullet that entered the house. He added that the soldiers had
stated that this particular type of bullet was only used by the Police.
Based on eyewitness description of the attackers by his Secretary Mr.
Alexander, Mr. Mahindarathne suspects Mr. Ajith Kumara, Secretary to the
Non Cabinet Minister of Petroleum Resources Mr. Duminda Dissanayake,
and Mr. Shaman Pradeep, a UPFA supporter, are responsible for the
attacks.

Mr. Mahindarathne added that he had not named the suspects in his
complaint to the Police, citing previous incidents of partiality. CMEV
previously reported an incident on the 17th of January, in
which the suspects named in this incident, allegedly attempted to
assault and then threaten Mr. Mahindarathne with a fire arm, while in
the premises of the Thambuththegama Police.

When contacted, the OIC Thambuththegama Police IP Thalwatte told CMEV
that the Police visited the location twice, and that the weapon used
has been confirmed as a T-56. He said that no attackers were identified
in the complaint. He confirmed that Mr. Mahindarathne had requested
Police protection citing death threats, but that they were unable to
provide such protection without an order from the DIG. CMEV was asked to
call back later to obtain information regarding the complaint.

Subsequently, when CMEV contacted the Thambuththegama Police as
requested, an Officer who refused to provide his name also refused to
provide the number of the complaint, or state whether the complaint was
recorded in the Elections Information Book or the Crimes Information
Book, citing orders from above to not provide any info to anyone other
than the Police Media Spokesperson.