Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2017, 15:16 GMT

Journalists Killed in 1999 - Motive Unconfirmed: Rohana Kumara

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date January 2000
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Journalists Killed in 1999 - Motive Unconfirmed: Rohana Kumara, January 2000, available at: [accessed 19 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

September 7, 1999, in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Kumara, chief editor of the pro-opposition Sinhala-language newspaper Satana, was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen at around 10 p.m. as he traveled in a taxi to his home in the Colombo suburb of Mirihana. The gunmen reportedly fled the scene in a silver Toyota 300 car. Kumara had received a phone call earlier that night notifying him that a group of men had entered his home and had threatened to harm his wife if she did not reveal her husband's whereabouts.

The motive for the killing was unclear, but journalists in Sri Lanka feared Kumara may have been murdered for his work. CPJs sources characterized Satana (Battle) as a controversial tabloid paper with a reputation for attacking the government and uncovering personal and political scandals.

The opposition United National Party financed Satana, though it had previously received funding from the People s Alliance coalition when that party was in the opposition, according to the Colombo-based Free Media Movement. The People's Alliance leader, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, has since been elected president of Sri Lanka.

On September 9, CPJ sent a letter to President Kumaratunga condemning Kumara's murder and urging her ensure that the case was thoroughly investigated. Though President Kumaratunga did indeed order an immediate investigation, local journalists told CPJ at year's end that police appeared to have abandoned the case.

Copyright notice: © Committee to Protect Journalists. All rights reserved. Articles may be reproduced only with permission from CPJ.

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