Sri Lankan foreign minister shot dead

Tension prevailed in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo early Saturday following the assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar late Friday.

Kadirgamar was admitted to Colombo's national hospital with serious head injuries after he was shot at around 11:15 p.m. local time Friday (1715 GMT). He passed away at 00:15 a.m. Saturday (1815 GMT).

The roar of helicopters is being heard in Colombo. Police said Sri Lankan armed forces have launched a helicopter search for assailants.

All roads in Colombo 7 area, where Kadirgamar's highly guarded residence is located, remain blocked by the armed forces.

Security sources said a sniper had 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.

Many shots have been fired at the residence, according to the policemen at the assassination site.

Kadirgamar, a Tamil, was in the forefront of 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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