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Last updated: 16 January, 2009 - Published 17:12 GMT
 
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Sirasa attack 'an inside job'
 
Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa
Mr. Rajapaksa says investigations have revealed that attack was carried out by Sirasa itself
The attack on Sirasa media station was proved to be an 'inside job', Sri Lankan government has said.

Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, has told a state media station that investigations have conclusively revealed that the attack on Sirasa was carried out by Sirasa station itself.

An armed group of nearly 15 people destroyed equipment and set fire to the MTV-MBC station early morning on 06 January.

Although the police were informed as soon as the attackers arrived, a police team has reached the scene only after the attackers fled Sirasa station, media reports said.

Claymore mines

Opposition political parties and media organisations accused the government of being responsible for the attack.

Leader of the opposition and United National Party (UNP) said attackers were also in possession of claymore mines, a weapon that is only available to security forces and LTTE in Sri Lanka.

 At this moment Sirasa is the Voice of Tigers. In Colombo Sirasa is the station that represents the LTTE. As we are winning now they have become desperate. Now the Tigers are losing the war, they are seeking public sympathy. That is why they set fire to Sirasa
 
Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

Neither the government nor police have accused LTTE of carrying out the attack.

Mr. Rajapaksa, the younger brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has said that there were many motives for the MTV-MBC to destroy its own station.

"At this moment Sirasa is the Voice of Tigers. In Colombo Sirasa is the station that represents the LTTE. As we are winning now they have become desperate. Now the Tigers are losing the war, they are seeking public sympathy. That is why they set fire to Sirasa," Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said.

'Not conclusive'

Claiming a huge compensation from insurance comapanies was another motive of the attack, he said.

"The station was insured for millions of rupees. They did the same thing in 2000 to claim compensation from insurance companies," he added.

SSP Ranjith Gunasekara
Police say investigations are far from over

However, the police say the investigations are far from over.

Two suspects were already arrested and investigations are underway, police said.

When asked for a response on the defence secretaries comments, police spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekara told BBC Sandeshaya that no conclusion has been made on the motives or the culprits of the attack.

"We are still in the process of gathering evidence" said the police spokesman. "Police investigations are looking at a group of men who had come to a nearby temple few hours before the attack".

The defence secretary Rajapaksa also warned that he would imprison the official from MTV who gave an interview to the CNN after the incident.

 
 
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