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Madhu killings: were they a gruesome reprisal?
By Tania Fernando
With investigations into the triple murder in Madhu continuing, Vavuniya Police have now discovered that the killing was planned meticulously to ensure that there was no trace.

Initially the killers had tried to poison the victims, an officer attached to the Vavuniya police said. He said a tablet had been put in the lunch packets of the three victims to make them unconscious after having their meal. However, they had refused to eat the food claiming that it tasted bitter.

After having failed in their first plan, the killers had embarked on their second plan. They had strangled the victims with nylon cords and after they had died, the killers had cut their necks with a knife, the officer said.

Although 11 persons have been remanded by the Vavuniya Police, and the main culprit Shanker is presently under LTTE custody, police are on the look out for two more suspects. Police said that a team has been sent to Colombo to arrest the two missing persons.

Police also said that till they secure the release of Shanker from the LTTE, which they believe would take approximately two weeks, they would not be able to piece together the details of the killing.

However, according to those in custody Shanker, believed to be a vehicle racketeer, had paid a sum of Rs. 360,000 to a relative of one of the victims for the purchase of a vehicle. When he could not get either the vehicle or his money back, he had planned the killings.

He had travelled to Kandy with some others on the pretext of going on a pilgrimage. In Kandy he had wanted to hire a bus since the one they had travelled in was said to have broken down. Even though the particular bus he was eying was not there at the time, Shanker had agreed to wait for the return of the bus.

When it arrived they had hired the bus and proceeded towards Madhu. After killing the three men he had hidden the bodies in the forest with the help of the suspects. He was arrested by the LTTE soon after the bodies were discovered by some villagers.

Police said that an identification parade would be held on August 7, when persons who were at the Madhu check-point would be called in. "We are hoping to make some of the suspects state witnesses", an officer of the Vavuniya police said.

The victims have been identified as the bus owner's brother, the driver and a helper.

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