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Six arrested for attack on Jaffna press: Government

By Staff
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Colombo, May 3 (UNI) The Sri Lankan government today announced the arrest of six people for the attack on Tamil language newspaper, Uthayan in the northern Jaffna peninsula yesterday.

''We have just been informed that six people have been arrested in connection with yesterday attack on the newspaper in Jaffna,'' the government announced here at a ceremony to mark the World Press Freedom Day at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall, where President Mahinda Rajapakse was the chief guest.

Speaking at the ceremony, the President ''condemned'' the attack on the newspaper and said it was ''an attempt to destroy values and principles that are both sacred and dear to all freedom loving societies and peoples.'' ''I have instructed the law enforcement authorities to spare no effort to bring the criminals involved in this senseless act to justice,'' he said.

A group of masked gunmen yesterday entered into the newspaper office located in the heart of the Jaffna town and opened fire on the editorial staff, killing two employees and wounding three others.

The gunmen smashed all the computers in the office before escaping the scene on a motorbike.

Addressing the audience, Director General of UNESCO, Koichiro Matsuura, who handed over the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Press Freedom Prize-2006 to a Lebanese journalist, May Chidiac, who also condemned the attack on the newspaper.

Ms Chidiac survived a fatal attack on her car but one of her hands and legs had to be amputated in September last year. The journalist is a popular television presenter in her country.

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