Intruders said they were on a contract - Mandana


by Harishchandra Gunaratna

Mandana Ismail Abewickrema speaking to media after the horrific incident

Mandana Ismail Abeywickrama, Associate Editor of The Sunday Leader and President of Sri Lanka Journalists’ Trade Union (SLJTU), yesterday said that one of the five-member gang that broke into her house, in the wee hours of Saturday, had told her that they had been given a contract by a person who had an axe to grind with her.

She said that one of them had even slapped her several times, telling his gang members they had spent too much time in the house and had to leave soon.General Secretary of SLJTU Priyantha Karunaratna said the intruders were not robbers and the incident was a part of a campaign to suppress media freedom. "Several days ago a dead cat was placed opposite Madana’s residence and the day before the attack a tyre of Manadana’s husband Romesh’s vehicle was cut.

Meanwhile, General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Working Journalists’ Association, Ranga Jayasuriya, in a release issued to media said: "The SLWJA is disturbed by the recent incident in which at least five armed men intruded the residence of journalists Ms Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema and Mr Romesh Abeywickrema on Friday night. The armed men ransacked the house, robbed jewellery and allegedly perused files and documents belonging to Ms Abeywickreme with a keen interest.

"Mandana is the Associate Editor of the Sunday Leader and Romesh is the Business Editor of the same newspaper.

"The intruders were at the residence from 2 am to until 5 am. Later, an alleged robber was killed and three police constables wounded in an exchange of gunfire after police arrived in the scene.

SLWJA calls on the authorities to conduct an independent investigation into the incident and disclose the identities of the intruders."

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