Rajapaksa condemns minister’s killing

April 6th, 2008 - 4:49 pm ICT by admin  

By P. Karunakharan
Colombo, April 6 (IANS) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa condemned the killing of his senior cabinet minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle in a suspected suicide attack Sunday, calling it as “an act of savagery”. At least 12 people and over 90 wounded were killed in a powerful bomb blast in Gampaha district. The incident took place at Waliweriya in the Western province, about 30 km from here.

“I emphatically and unequivocally condemn the cowardly assassination of Fernandopulle by the terrorists of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam),” Rajapaksa said in a statement.

He said that the assassination “once again shows the total contempt of the LTTE to the democratic process, and its unquestioned commitment to violence and terror to achieve narrow and limited objectives, that are far removed from the interests of the Tamil people of Sri Lanka.

“While calling on the people to be calm and collected in the face of such extreme provocation by the forces of terror, I wish to reiterate that this dastardly act will not weaken our resolve to eradicate terrorism and bring peace, harmony and democracy to all our people,” said Rajapaksa, who is also the defence minister and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

Fernandopulle, 55, was a close confidant of Rajapaksa and was the chief government whip in parliament. He was also the treasurer and chief organiser of the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

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