dropped his guard after assurances?
Did Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, who was aware of an August
2005 plot to assassinate him, drop his guard after a wealthy overseas
Tamil businessman told him the LTTE had assured him that he would
not be killed by them as long as he held his portfolio?
The businessman with very close links to the LTTE was in the habit
of calling on Mr. Kadirgamar whenever he visited Sri Lanka. The
Foreign Minister who was always keen to learn "the other view"
saw him only after he had cleared security at his residence. Unhappy
Army commandos guarding the Minister who screened him gave him the
sobriquet "Babu" after one day confiscating a syringe
he was carrying saying he was a diabetic.
was the name of the suicide-bomber who killed President Ranasinghe
Premadasa. He had infiltrated the Premadasa household two years
before the assassination was carried out. Mr. Kadirgamar and the
Tamil businessman have been old family friends of many years. During
their meetings they discussed the current political crisis, especially
the north-east insurgency.
had been warned of an impending bid on his life this very month
through the Directorate of Military Intelligence by a western intelligence
agency. The brief one-paragraph warning said a plot to assassinate
him was to be executed in August 2005, but it did not give specific
details on how it would be executed. In addition, the Directorate
of Internal Intelligence (DII) had warned that the guerrillas were
also planning to assassinate Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse and
Deputy Defence Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake.
Sarath Fonseka was then acting Commander of the Army (Lt. Gen. Shantha
Kottegoda was away in Thailand) had promptly telephoned Mr. Kadirgamar
to warn him of this. Thereafter, the very next day he had made available
two more motor cycles and four escort vehicles for his use.
by the western intelligence agency had been the subject of intense
discussion by Mr. Kadirgamar with senior Army officers responsible
for his security.
probing the minister's assassination have been told by his security
staff that following the overseas businessman's advice that Mr.
Kadirgamar would not be targeted while he held the Foreign Minister
portfolio, Mr. Kadirgamar had taken a more relaxed view on security
precautions. The businessman is reported to have further said that
the LTTE had, however, told him that they might assassinate Mr.
Kadirgamar when he was a private citizen.
With Mr. Kadirgamar
purchasing a private residence at Buller's Lane, his security advisers
had in September last year, requested more personnel from Army Commander
Shantha Kottegoda. The request was turned down on the grounds that
in that case Mr. Kadirgamar would have more security than Premier
Rajapakse. This negative response by the Army Commander had prompted
Mr. Kadirgamar, who served as a member of the National Security
Council and was on top of the LTTE's hit-list to tell his security
advisers not to press for more personnel. But Mr. Kadirgamar's security
contingent pursued their efforts through the Ministry of Defence.
Approval for an additional contingent was granted — ironically
on the day he was assassinated — eleven months after the first
men were due in Colombo from their camps only this week.
The private residence of Mr. Kadirgamar had a permanent guard of
just four Ministerial Security Division personnel together with
a solitary policeman from the Cinnamon Gardens Police. Investigators
are adopting a two-pronged probe into Mr. Kadirgamar's assassination,
one to trace the assassins, and the other to ascertain which arm
of the security establishment was responsible for the terrible inadequacy
in his personal security.