Written by Tharushan Fernando
28 Feb, 2017 | 9:37 am
Seven people were killed when gunmen opened fire on a prisons department bus in Kalutara on Monday.
Five suspects, including underworld figure Aruna Udayantha alias Samayan, were killed in the incident. Two prison guards were also killed.
A van suspected to be the vehicle used to the flee the scene of yesterday’s shooting has been taken in to custody by the Police
According to the Police media spokesperson, the vehicle was found abandoned at the Moragahakanda junction. No documents pertaining to the vehicle were found nor has any information come to light regarding the ownership of the van.
Another van has been found abandoned along the Galle-Matara road in Ahangama while the wners of the vehicle aare yet to be verified. According to the Police Media unit an investigation has been launched in to the incident.
What happened ?
Two buses had departed the Kalutara prison at about 9 o’clock on Monday morning carrying suspects to the Kaduwela Court.
The case being heard at the Kaduwela Magistrate’s Court was in relation to charges of attempted murder.
A cab had blocked the path of the bus less than a kilometre away from the prison.
Police investigation revealed that a group on an earth embankment on the left side of the bus, had opened fire.
“I was with my daughter in the living room when we heard the sound of firecrackers. I came out to see who was lighting firecrackers and then I saw the two prison buses.”
“When I was about to leave the house, I saw the two prison buses. I closed the door half way and watched the incident through the gap in the door. The shot was fired at that time. I ran further into the house. Another shot was fired at the window. We hid inside the house.”
Our correspondent noted that among the group were persons wearing the uniforms of police constables and sub-inspectors.
The gunmen opened fire while approaching the bus and had then entered the bus and targeted several individuals within.
Police said that the gunmen had abandoned the cab at the scene and had fled in a van.
The suspects killed in the incident were Aruna Udayantha alias Samayan, Chalana Thilak, Amila Prasanna Sampath, Kelum Priyankara and Suranga Prasanna.
Five prison guards were injured in the shooting while two of them later succumbed to their wounds.
The deceased prison guards have been identified as S. Sannigam and S.R. Wijeyratne who served as a jailer.
One of the injured was transferred to the Colombo National Hospital to undergo further treatment.
A gunman opened fire on Aruna Udayantha alias Samayan at the Kaduwela Court premises on the 23rd of September 2015, but he had escaped unharmed.
Later, a gunman had targeted Samayan’s wife near the Welikada Prison, but another woman was killed in the shooting.
Police say that the group behind the attacks on Aruna Udayantha alias Samayan had been identified and that investigations are underway, with special attention from the Colombo Crimes Division.
Nine teams have been deployed for the investigation into the incident.
Prisons Media Spokesperson, Thushara Upuldeniya said that the this was a premeditated attack
The suspect who was being transported was allegedly involved with underworld gangs. The attack was launched targeting him and his group.
According to the Prison Media Spokesperson, a committee is looking into the matter while the Police Department has also launched an investigation.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Prison Reforms and Rehabilitation has appointed a three-member committee to conduct investigations into the shooting.
The committee comprises of retired Magistrate Rumy Marzook, retired DIG Gamini Nawaratne and former Additional Secretary at the Ministry of Defence, S. Medagama.
Issuing a statement today, the Ministry of Prison Reforms and Rehabilitation said preliminary inquiries had revealed that the incident could have been prevented if police security had been provided for the convoy.
The statement reads that it is normal practice for the Prisons Department to request special police security, when transporting high profile underworld members who have received similar charges.
The statement claims that the police had informed the Prisons Department yesterday that additional security could not be provided due to a shortage of officers.
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