Freelance journalist lured to his death

A freelance journalist has been mysteriously murdered in a Sri Lankan suburb, taking the number of media professionals who have been killed in the country to four within the last seven months.

Lakmal Silva, who specialised in defence issues, was anonymously summoned to a region south of the capital Colombo, where he was attacked by an unknown group.

Sri Lankan sources told media freedom activists that the state’s security forces are thought to be responsible for the killing, which happened in the small hours of Saturday morning.

“If the authorities want to put an end to the rumours about the implication of the security forces in the killing, they must hold a rigorous and impartial investigation,” said Reporters Without Borders.

The Paris-based group added the same independent investigation should be extended to five other journalists and media assistants who were recently killed.

Like his professional peers, Silva is thought to be a tireless media worker to have innocently perished at the hands of a so-called ‘dormant war.’

However his writings about the conflict between government forces and Tamil separatists have prompted some to suggest he was an informer for the state, which they claim, is why police say he was killed by rebels.

Other sources told RWB that Silva had also informed on the separatists, and army forces might have killed him after suspecting he was working as a ‘double agent.’

The freelancer’s body was recovered on Saturday morning by police. His family has since said no death treats were issued, in light of high-profile scare tactics from the state to other journalists who recently met with Tamil fighters.

Early reports suggest Silva was anonymously telephoned and told to drive to a district of Southern Colombo, where he was ambushed and shot dead by the unknown group.


6th July 2006

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