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Last updated: 07 February, 2007 - Published 14:28 GMT
 
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Journalists 'admit' working for LTTE
 
Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella and Lakshman Hulugalla at the press conference
Military says journalists have admitted working with the LTTE
The Sri Lankan government has said that three Sinhala journalists who went missing on Monday were in fact arrested for allegedly helping Tamil Tigers.

Military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said the three journalists have confessed to planning and carrying out attacks on behalf of the rebels.

Lalith Seneviratne, a journalist , Sisira Priyankara, a member of the United Railway Workers Union and the news editor of the union's journal, Akuna, and Nihal Senasinghe were reported missing on Monday night.

'Explosives found'

Brigadier Samarasinghe said the law enforcement authorities were conducting an surveillance operation on the activities of the suspects for some time.

 About two years ago, I went to the LTTE-held areas for arms training
 
Lalith Seneviratne in the video footage

"6kg of explosives hidden by the suspects were found after the arrest," he told journalists in Colombo.

The journalists were shown video clips of confessions by the suspects.

Lalith Seneviratne, in the video footage shown by the security officials, admitted that he was working with the LTTE.

Attempted blasts

"About two years ago, I went to the LTTE-held areas for arms training," Seneviratne was shown admitting in the footage.

He said the Tamil Tigers twice gave him weapons and ammunitions.

Journalists protesting the abduction in Colombo
Media watchdogs say police denied arresting the three journalists

Seneviratne said two attempts to explode a claymore bomb and to blast a communication tower near Colombo were unsuccessful.

Sisira Priyankara has also admitted getting arms training from Tamil Tigers.

A parcel containing explosives, Priyankara said in the footage, was handed over to a contact in Galle.

Military spokesman said Nihal Senasinghe was married to a Tamil woman.

Media watchdogs

Defense Affairs spokesman, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, said the suspects have even attended press briefings in Media Centre for National Security.

International media watchdogs earlier urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to take immediate steps to safeguard their lives.

The Free Media Movement (FMM) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said the three men were abducted in the capital Colombo by unidentified men.

FMM spokesman, Sunanada Deshapriya, told BBC Sandeshaya that the statement was issued after police and Criminal Investigation Bureau (CID) informed they did not arrest the suspects.

 
 
LOCAL LINKS
FMM: Safeguard 'rule of law'
07 February, 2007 | Sandeshaya
"Akuna newspaper staff abducted"
06 February, 2007 | Sandeshaya
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