In the backdrop of the suspects in the murders of Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunge and Prageeth Ekneligoda been released on bail, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has declared that the investigation into both murders were moving forward as both cases were of very high importance to his government.
During a visit to Stockholm on Wednesday, he told a group of special invitees who had attended to listen to a lecture delivered by him, “Lasantha was a personal friend of mine, and his death anniversary was on the 8th of January. I went to the cemetery again to pay respects to him. Yes, there is a lot of talk, that because of the delay in nailing the suspects, that the government is trying to hide the perpetrators of these murders. But I have been following the investigations and I can assure you, there is no such thing. In fact, many of the suspects are already under arrest. But they have yet to file the B-report. Also, about Lasantha’s killing the investigators feel that they will soon be able to learn where the orders came from, in order to assassinate Lasantha.”
He made this statement in response to a question raised by journalist Johan Mikaelsson who highlighted that there were claims where moves were afoot to safeguard the culprits behind the two murders.
During his official two-day visit to Sweden, he delivered a lecture on the invitation of The Institute for Security & Development Policy (ISDP) in Stockholm.
Elaborating his answer further he also said that even in the case of Ekneligoda, Samaraweera recalled how several army intelligence officers were arrested and were now released on bail. “But this is till the final case commences. These two cases are of great interest to us, and politically it is of great importance to our government that we proceed with these investigations. So, I can assure you that despite the delays, both cases are moving forward,” he said.
The foreign minister’s statement comes in the backdrop of the CID grilling Minister and former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka for some five hours over the murder of Wickrematunge.