Killing of pastor: Motive personal, police act fast

By W. Chandrapala

Despite speculation that the killing of the Christian pastor in Ampara could be the work of an organisation which resented conversions to Christianity, within 16 hours police were able to reveal that it was a contract killing ordered by a husband whose wife had been converted.

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Rev. Edirisinghe. His
daughter in
the arms of a relative
The pastorA?a??a??s motor cycle fallen after the shooting

Rev. Neil Samson Edirisinghe was the pastor of the new church started in Ampara recently. He lived with his wife Shiromi and their one and a half year old child. According to police, the pastor was returning home last Monday on his motor cycle at around 8.30 p.m. when he became the target of a gunman. He was shot in the back by the assailant who also injured his wife while their child was in shock after witnessing the shooting.

The Ampara child rehabilitation centre president Chamila Kodagoda who had heard the sound of gunfire had informed the Ampara police about the incident. When police arrived on the scene, Mrs. Edirisinghe who was badly injured had requested them to hand over her child to the YMCA before she was admitted to the Ampara hospital, where the pastor was also taken and pronounced dead.

Chief Inspector Asoka Weerakkody ordered an investigation by a special police team. According to police, two security men attached to an NGO had reported that two armed men dressed in uniform similar to that worn by home guards, were seen passing close to the pastorA?a??a??s house.

Based on this piece of information police had been on the look out for the two suspects. In the wee hours of the next morning Inspector Weerakkody had received information that two men dressed in home guard uniform had walked into the police canteen a few hours earlier.

Further information helped the police investigation team arrest two civil security men posted to a bunker. At first the duo denied they knew anything about the incident but further grilling by police revealed that the two men were responsible for the attack. It was a contract killing for Rs. 100,000 given by a rich businessman in Ampara. The suspects were taken to custody after admitting that they obtained an advance of Rs. 20,000 for undertaking the task.

The firearm used in the killing was also seized and the suspects remanded. DIG Eastern Range Rienzie Perera, SSP A.Wijesuriya and ASPs Arunapala and Ravichandra led the investigation team.


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