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Home >> World
UPDATED: 11:06, August 13, 2005
Sri Lankan president declares state of emergency
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Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga declared a state of emergency Saturday after Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar was assassinated.

The state of emergency was declared to ensure national security and "facilitate enhanced security measures and effective investigations of this act of wanton terror," said the presidential office.

Kadirgamar was shot at around 11:15 p.m. local time Friday (1715 GMT) and passed away at 00:15 a.m. Saturday (1815 GMT Friday)in hospital.

Security sources said a sniper shot at him while he was near the swimming pool of his private residence in the plush residential area of Cinnamon Gardens in the capital.

A manhunt for the assassins of the foreign minister was immediately launched by the police. They carried out house to house searches at Buller's Lane, where his private residence is located.

Sri Lankan Airforce helicopters hovered around the capital on an air surveillance mission. The police said two suspects believed to have executed the assassination from the bathroom of a nearby residence are being hunted.

A tripod and two empty cartridges were found at the scene, according to security sources.

Kadirgamar, a Tamil, was in the forefront of the Sri Lankan government's campaign for an international ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels.

As a well known lawyer, Kadirgamar entered politics in 1994 and was immediately made the foreign minister.

He held the post from 1994 to date, barring a short period between 2001 and 2003.

Kadirgamar figured high on the Tamil Tigers' hit list and was provided with elite commando security.

Source: Xinhua

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