Pro-opposition newspaper press burnt in Sri Lanka

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Colombo, Nov 21 (UNI) A group of heavily armed masked men stormed a vibrant pro-opposition newspaper and set a fire the printing press at Ratmalana in the outskirts of Colombo early this morning.

According to newspaper staff, nearly 15 masked men broke into the office premises of the Sunday Leader newspaper and poured petrol on the printing press and on the printed copies of the newspapers before setting them ablaze at around 0200 hrs IST today.

''They told the printing staff to sit out before setting the machineries on fire,'' a senior journalist attached to the newspaper group said, adding that the press had faced the same fate about a couple of years ago.

The company publishes The Sunday Leader, The Morning Leader (midweek), and a Sinhala language Sunday newspaper, all of them were highly critical of the incumbent ruling coalition led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Sri Lankan police has launched a special investigation into the incident, but is yet to identify the suspects.

Meanwhile, at least four Tamil Tiger rebels have been killed when the government troops attacked and destroyed one of their bunker lines at Kandaperumnankulam, south of Mullikulam in Vavuniya today, military sources said.

''The troops have recovered four LTTE bodies along with four T-56 assault riffles and an I-com set from the attackers,'' the sources said, adding there was no damage caused to their own troops.


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