The Sunday Leader

Leader Journalist Attacked

By Easwaran Rutnam

A group of men with knives threatened The Sunday Leader Associate Editor Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema at her Bambalapitiya residence early last morning in what the police claimed was a failed robbery attempt.

The men had forced their way into the house while her husband Romesh Abeywickrema was out and she was at home with her young daughter and parents.

The gang had cut the line of the home telephone and removed the battery of her mobile phone which was in her room.

Mandana said that the five men had entered the house through the side entrance and held a knife threatening to kill her.

“They wanted to know what I had in the cupboards and ransacked the place to steal whatever they could take,” she said.

While this was going on her mother, who was fast asleep, had woken up and had came out of her room and was pushed against the wall and threatened.

The gang, who used some clothes in the house to cover their faces, also later held knives at her daughter and parents.

Mandana pleaded with them not to harm her family and to take whatever they came for and leave.

After several minutes her husband, Romesh Abeywickrema, who had returned home, contacted the police after he felt suspicious near the entrance when he was unable to get through to Mandana on the phone.

“I saw some movements inside the house when I was about to go in and felt a bit suspicious so I called the 119,” he said.

When the police arrived, they made their way in and found the gang still inside and an altercation broke out.

One policeman opened fire when the gang assaulted him while attempting to flee.

A gang member was killed in police gunfire while four others were eventually arrested with one person admitted to hospital with severe gunshot injuries. Four policemen were also injured.

The police insist that the gang that forced their way into the house had gone there with the motive of committing a robbery.

Police spokesman SP Budhika Siriwardena, addressing a special press briefing last afternoon, said that the police had identified the men involved in the crime and they had also recovered a three-wheeler which belonged to the robbers.

He said that robber gangs had been operating in Bambalapitiya using three-wheelers, and they suspect this gang may have some links with those robbers.

The police spokesman also said that while cash and other valuables stolen from Abeywickrema’s house had been recovered from the gang, there were no files or documents in their possession.

Earlier there were reports that the gang had searched for some files while they were in the house for over an hour before they attempted to flee when the police arrived.


7 Comments for “Leader Journalist Attacked”

  1. Appuhami

    Spine less paper. If you cant revile the truth on be half of your own Journalist. How can you stand for the others.
    Read the BBC instead. you can read the real truth.

  2. kudson

    why are journalists being targetted

  3. manuelpillai

    A good job done by the police must be congratulated. It should serve as an example to others in the police Force.


    Sri Lanka is the only country in the entire world, where there are more ‘contract killers’ than ‘building contractors’! Isn’t it a shame that journalists are being targeted at a time Navi Pillay also here to see the danger journalists are facing?

  5. MaPer


  6. MS

    What a joke!

  7. Matiya

    Sadly today the Army and the police rather than protecting people, they are the biggest criminals and killers. Over and over again few people under the influence of criminal politicians are tarnishing the image of them. From white van crimes, thefts of antiques, killings of prisons/ Weliveriya/ Negombo and Free Trade zone are examples of the criminality of them suggesting that they are a private army/ police of criminal politicians. Having a criminal killed in this incident has let the cat out of the bag !!!

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