Break-in at journalist’s house only a burglary – Police

Break-in at journalist’s house only a burglary – Police

August 24, 2013   05:37 pm

The break-in at the Bambalapitiya residence of Sri Lanka Journalists Trade Union President, Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema this morning was only an attempted armed robbery and nothing else, said the Police.

Five suspected burglars had broken into the house located in Dickman’s Road at around 2.00am today, before clashing with police officers who had responded to a call received by the police emergency hotline. 

One of the intruders was shot dead while several police officers and the other suspects had sustained injuries in the clash.

Certain media reports had revealed that suspects had searched for documents after breaking in and intended to kidnap Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema, who is an Associate Editor in the English language ‘Sunday Leader’ newspaper.

Media activists say the attack was the latest in a string of violent incidents involving the staff of the Sunday Leader and that they suspected the incident at Mrs. Abeywickrema’s home was an attempt to intimidate her.

The Free Media Movement (FMM) said they suspected the attack was linked to her work.

“The intruders spent a lot of time inside the house going through files and documents,” FMM convenor Sunil Jayasekera told AFP.

“If they wanted only the valuables, they could have taken them and got out much earlier. But they were clearly looking for something else.”

However, Police Spokesman SP Buddhika Siriwardena rubbished these reports saying it was only an armed robbery and that the suspects did not have any other motive.

Addressing a press conference at Police Headquarters today, he revealed that the suspects had arrived in a three-wheeler to carry out the crime.

 A total of four police officers and four suspects were injured in the clash while two of the officers have undergone surgeries, he said.

The suspects involved in the incident are being identified and more detailed will be revealed in the future, Siriwardena said.

Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema, speaking to reporters earlier today, had said that one of the intruders had said that they were carrying out a contract they had accepted.

Mrs. Abeywickrema said she suspects the intruders intended to either murder or abduct her once they had found what they wanted.

She also said that the suspects had brought a hand grenade with them, which is unlikely if they were robbing a house.

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