The Sunday Leader

A Mayor – The Army, And White Van Abductions

By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema

MP Duminda Silva’s former supporter Kolonnawa Urban Council Chairman Ravindra Udayashantha Picture by Dinouk Colambage, The ID cards and papers found in the possession of the driver of the white van, The number plate of the white van - PC 8649, The Mitsubishi white van used by the army personnel and The army personnel at the Wellampitiya Police

The attempt to abduct governing UPFA Chairman of the Kolonnawa Urban Council, Ravindra Udayashantha has taken an interesting twist with various versions being related. The Chairman and the army, who were involved in the attempted abduction, have made contradictory statements.
The involvement of army personnel in the incident has raised concerns over the series of white van abductions that seem to be taking place yet again. The army however denies that forces personnel have been deployed to carry out abductions.
Udayashantha claims that two of the army personnel who had attempted to abduct him last Saturday night were involved in the abduction of his brother last month who to date remains missing.
Udayashantha’s younger brother, Janaka Prabath Dodampegama was abducted on February 2, this year.
He was allegedly abducted by a group of persons in a white van in Meethotamulla. A complaint had been lodged with the Wellampitiya police by Udayashantha’s mother about the abduction.
Police however are yet to find any clue as to who abducted Dodampegama. According to Udayashantha, the family believes that the abductors have killed his brother.
Udayashantha was at one time closely affiliated to parliamentarian Duminda Silva, who was also the SLFP organizer for the Kolonnawa electorate until he was injured in a shooting incident last October.
However, Silva and Udayashantha had fallen out due to a business dispute.
“Silva’s brother in-law and I got the tender to clear scrap iron from the BCC Company. His brother in-law and I had an argument over a matter related to the deal. Silva then sided with his brother in-law and threatened me,” Udayashantha said.
He claimed that although he was unaware of the real reason for the attempt to abduct him, he believes there was a connection between his feud with Silva and his brother in-law.
“The attempt to abduct me was politically motivated. I have a lot of enemies even in the Kolonnawa Urban Council,” he charged. “I cannot go to the Council due to the threats to my life. I have to now carry out my work from home,” he said. Recounting the incident, Udayashantha told The Sunday Leader that he had been at the Umagiliya Grounds in Kolonnawa attending to a progress review meeting of the sports club set up by him.
“I then noticed several people on the grounds who appeared to be acting suspiciously and there were two white vans and a three wheeler parked towards the end of the grounds,” he said.
Udayashantha had then been informed by his supporters that they were army personnel and that one of the white vans were similar to the one used to abduct his brother.
“I immediately telephoned the Wellampitiya OIC and told him there were some suspicious persons and that I believed there was an attempt to abduct me,” he said.
When the police arrived at the grounds, Udayashantha says he and his supports had pointed out the suspicious persons, who, he claims had then attempted to flee.
“My supporters however surrounded four of them and started to assault them, at which point they claimed to be from the army,” the Chairman said.
Udayashantha said that he too gave chase to capture another army soldier who had fired at him. “I too took my pistol and fired back at the man, but he managed to escape,” he added.
Despite shots being fired no bullet casings have been recovered by police.
Udayashantha’s supporters had meanwhile surrounded the white Mitsubishi van bearing number PC 8649 and attacked it as well. They had also captured the driver of the white van. The driver of the van Girmabegedara Udeni Samarajeewa Karunaratne from Galenbindunuwewa had at the time had in his possession the national ID card and the ID card issued by the Sri Lanka Army bearing number 074168.
“The four army soldiers were handed over to the Wellampitiya Police,” Udayashantha said. The army personnel had later been released by the Wellampitiya Police.
When The Sunday Leader visited the Wellampitiya Police, OIC Ranjith Samaranayake who was in-charge at the time of the alleged abduction had been transferred and the police personnel refused to speak about the incident.
The police insists that the transfer of the Wellampitiya OIC and the alleged attempt to abduct Udayashantha are not connected. The Wellampitiya Police had recorded statements from the Kolonnawa Urban Council Chairman as well as the four army personnel who had been taken to the police.
Police Spokesperson SP Ajith Rohana said the police was currently holding an inquiry into the matter under the supervision of the Western Province DIG.
He explained that an inquiry had to be held since the Chairman and the army personnel had made contradictory statements to the police.
“The Chairman has claimed that an attempt was made to abduct him while the army personnel deny it saying they were engaged in official duty in the area at the time,” he said.
When asked as to when and how the Wellampitiya Police had released the four army personnel, SP Rohana pointed out that the army personnel were never arrested.
Meanwhile, Military Spokesperson Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that the four army personnel who had been taken to the Wellampitiya Police had lodged a complaint over the obstruction of their official duties.
He explained that the men from the army had been engaged in apprehending army deserters and had been in the process of following a former soldier in order to ensure that he is not engaged in any illegal activities.
“The team that has been accused was tasked to carry out a reconnaissance mission where they apprehend deserters,” he said.
This by itself is unusual since the usual practice of the army is to get Military Police personnel to apprehend army deserters so that legal action can be filed as per the Army Act. When asked why Military Police personnel had not been used last Saturday to apprehend the deserters in Kolonnawa, Brigadier Wanigasooriya said that due to the large number of deserters the Military Police had sought assistance from army personnel.
The Military Spokesperson added that the army was currently conducting a separate investigation into the incident. “An army inquiry is currently in progress to determine what happened,” he said.
Director General of the Media Center for National Security (MCNS), Lakshman Hulugalle also reiterated that there was no truth to the claim made by the Kolonnawa Urban Council Chairman about military personnel trying to abduct him. “There is no issue over the matter. It is very clear. The army personnel were in the area to apprehend army deserters and they had explained it to the police,” he said.
Be that as it may, a senior police officer on condition of anonymity told The Sunday Leader that the current abductions taking place was part of a “clean up” operation launched by the defence establishment to wipe out underworld figures and drug peddlers.
“There is a list of names of persons involved in drug peddling and the underworld and these abductions are incidents where they are apprehended in order to take legal action and to gather information on the others involved,” he explained.
In the case of Udayashantha, the police officer noted that his name had been linked with persons involved in drug peddling in the Kolonnawa area.
Government ministers have also admitted to the existence of white van squads engaged in abductions.
In a previous interview with The Sunday Leader, Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said, “Some people criticize the white vans going after the drug peddler or the underworld member.
However, in third world countries it is one way to eradicate such issues. In Brazil when President Lula tried to carry out operations against the drug cartel in that country, he even had to use the Air Force. He mobilized all the forces against the drug cartel for 100 days and he still could not eradicate the menace. It is a difficult task.”

27 Comments for “A Mayor – The Army, And White Van Abductions”

  1. janaka

    Duminda is Gota’s man?

  2. Meena M.

    It is strange that none of these poor people who have been abducted by these thugs in white vans have never been found. Perhaps these rogue military personnel are the very same criminals who killed innocent civilians up north.
    The Rajapaksa secret army at work?

  3. sillybilly

    Rajitha, don’t quote without knowing. President lulu De Silva didn’t use white vans neither did he use the AF personnel in Brazil to fight the drug lords. He sent the AF me to Paraguay to prevent the drugs spilling over the border. You should go back to be a DENTIST.

  4. Bruz

    Nice interesting story & good going. Just keep it going to make the miracle of Asia.

  5. Kumar Pathirana

    So Mister MinisterSenaratne – Can you release the names of those who were abducted as Drug Pedllers. Were they produced before a court or were excecuted? If executed, whatever happened to the rule of law in SL?

  6. Bruz

    While mobilizing countries against LLRC implementation is going on in Geneva on one side, abductions by white vans are also going on in full swing in Sri Lanka.
    Regime is really busy every where doing everything except ruling a country the way it should be ruled. Jayawewaa !

  7. alexpereira

    This way no human being can live in SL except for a few , so let us all go to ther countries and the few can stay and there will be no need forwhite vans, wars, political killings, elections.

    The supreme will be supreme always.

  8. Kornelius

    What goes around, comes around!

  9. gamarala

    Prapakaran Ramasamy who after months of torture in polce custody, and who filed a Fundamental Rights case after release against the police, was abducted. Who did it is obvious to anyone.Now a politician was almost abducted and the men involved are armymen, who were released from police custody.
    Does this amount to Rule of Law?
    If this can happen in the south, imagine what happens in the north – which is ignored upto now.

  10. It is common knowledge that it is a special unit within the Army that is Going
    around the Country in White Vans & abducting People & then Killing them .
    Most well informed & educated people in the Country also no that it was an
    Army Hit squad under the direction of then Commander Sarath Fonseka
    along with Gotta Rajapaksa ( they were the best of pals at the time, till Sarath
    pocketed $500,000 Cash on Arms Deal, Gotta got angry over this as all
    Arms Deal Commission’s $$ Money is Gotta Rajapaksa Family Gang Money).

    • True Sri Lankan

      A nonsense allegation and shameful comparison??? General Fonseka never ran away from the motherland and he was ready to die to protect Sri Lanka from ltte terrorism. On the other hand, Gota who ran away cowardly to America to work at minimum wage at a 7-11 unsophisticated store chain came back once brother MR got the presidency to fill coffers at our expense. Now the Rajapaksa clan is replacing old drug dealers with new once so that the Rajapaksa clan gets their dues. We have bankrupted our country for these savage goons to earn commissions and give us white elephants like Mihin air, hambanthiota harbor, Habbanthota airport to name a few. The war is over. We need real democracy , law & order and decency in our country…………………… UN is not against SL, it is only againt arrorant rajapakse bums…

  11. Adikari

    This is classical of a law less state. No wonder despite so many van abductions, not a single case is solved as it is the guardians of the law who are criminals. What moral right does the govt. has to take any action against any type of crime as biggest criminals are in the govt. itself. Every high profile murder and crimes are directly or indirectly linked to the highest in the govt. or ministers etc.

    What can yopu expect from a govt. who appoints a rapist and underworld king to monitor law and order and not surprisingly he kills and then govt. and the president stoops down to protect him. Unparallel shame ! And then clowns like Rajitha saying ‘vans going after drug peddlers’. Why can not the govt. use proper law enforcement to catch them and be open and accountable ? How can these clowns poinyt to others when priminiter him self had said that there are politiciens involved. Why not first start with them !!!

  12. Bedrock Barney

    Really cedric, how intelligent you are!

  13. Sri

    What a sordid saga coming home to roost? If this happens in the south what must be going on in the north?

  14. lalith

    SRI LANKA NS SHOULD BE HAPPY WHAT THE US GOVERNMENT IS DOING GOOD TO THE CITIZENS OF SRI LANKANS AT GENEVA.WHITE VAN ABDUCTION AND MAHA REGIME FUN WILL BE OVER AND THE POOR CITIZEN SHOULD LIVE HAPPILY AND NOT TO FOR GET OUR WAR HERO GENERAL SARATH FONSEKA BEING POLITICAL PRISIONER…….

  15. Jo

    white van murderer of SRI lanka kudu gota is the main man behind these abductions and murders.

  16. Saman

    Only hope for the poor defenseless citizens is that the US will interfere and KILL the murderous and rapists Rajapakses like what they did to Gadafi in Libiya. Hope Obama will act very soon on this to safeguard the innocent people of Sri Lanka from White Van Abductions and eventually Brutally Killing them. Some say that the organs of such people killed by the white van murderers are sold to foreign coun tries at a very high price.

  17. love2beTRAITOR

    how do we know this so called hit squard doesnt abduct minorities or business man n ask for ransom?

  18. Jo

    KUDU GOTA IS MAIN MAN BEHIND THESE ABDUCTIONS AND MURDERS.

  19. Ceedric

    This is the Lovely contry where the law of the jugle operates. Very sad state of affairs. Where has this lawlessnes come. Till the majority of the country understand this,unfortunately the country will be in reverse.

  20. jaliya

    There official duties? Abduct rouge supporters under Gotas orders and execute them in cold blood. This is the situation of “law and order” of this “miracle of Asia” today. Lawless uneducated politicos deciding who to live and who to die! Army giving third grade answers. There army murderers should be hanged in public court! This is nothing to cheer about this extra judiciary killing. May be they are afraid that people will get to know that Gota got drug money through these drug lords!

  21. GOSL CLAIMING EXCLUSIVE INTERNAL AFFAIR, THEN MEDDLING ABOUT IN HAITI

    Happy to recieve payment from UN / US also, that no prob
    Happy for US to ban, cut funds, arrest anti air missile tigers, give us spy planes and spy info on arms ships and to threaten tigers with helping SL if dont peacefully settle with Ranil, they kept their word, not our bigots.

    white van abduction yet the norm, defence expediture getinh higher and higher, people are shot, poor mans fuel is robbed, minorities abused.
    No this is not the stuff of tiger, but now GOSL.

    India as our local super-power is concerned about its back waters, also Tamils in India and SL
    India has learned a thing or two about bluff from MR
    Our ancestors are after all from India no,……even language, religion……….

    Millions of people suffering from kerosine theft, etc. and Wimal has developed a self-pity
    Failing to realize, not just the above, but his boss is the local American

    As the people were taken for a ride and the forces were exemplary at most part, only the liars and thieves at the top of GOSL should be effected.

    More effective than resolution that might insult the ordinary citizen (and too much of that by our white-van abducting kerosine thieves and Ipad lovin, US hatin Don Juan beards) is to file charges on these Americans that are ruling the country

    And since these love foreign stuff, aid and loans only because of the country, nothin else, that why, so give it in parts with prgress on the rights of the citizen and the entitlement of the minorities.

    The problem is the Paksas have bluffed India and the West so much that they may not buy that stuff.

    Ipad (designer cars, top security) are luxuries even in the west that a few politicians have. This Wimal can go to the village, then comes up with this stuff about why the western tractor and not the local bull, he will be thrown out, so now we have to put up with this idiot, but as a country marching forward in this Global village we should not

  22. this is good move. this man was released by a noble man when he was arrested by some police officers few years ago. Later he contested in urban elections against same noble man whom he got the freedom./????/????????? Kya kharega bhai? This noble man is EX: Chairman’s Son as per our data.
    you decide Judgment is in your hand……../?.

  23. drugs dealers/ distributors are short live span. you need to study the actual liquid Assets ratios to evaluate the critical data furnished by the customers.

  24. Rowdy Peter

    Double checking isa the best wasy to get a story that will stand on its feet. Were the men in uniform? If they were not can the army authorities confirm that these men are still serving or are they on a jail bird’s pay list.

  25. Dhammika

    True Sri Lankan

    You are perfectly correct …..

    Thanks for telling the truth and reality…..

  26. tissa

    kudu gota is the one who is behind these abductions and murders that is why he has demoted the officer who investigated this case. and transfer so he can put one of his corrupt officer t o investigate the matter on his favour.

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