COLOMBO, March 6, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s police admitted Tuesday that its own security personnel have been involved in kidnappings for ransom and vowed to crack down on mounting abductions and killings of civilians. Colombo also faced censure over the killing of 17 local employees of a French charity in August. Scandinavian monitors blamed the military, a charge vehemently denied by the defence authorities. Police Inspector General Victor Perera said a “large number” of police officers and troops had been arrested on charges of abduction and extortion.
His remarks came as five bullet-riddled bodies of unidentified men turned up in the north central district of Anuradhapura Tuesday following a similar discovery of five bodies near the capital on Saturday.
The police chief said the identity of the victims was not immediately known but offered “unlimited money” as a reward for information leading to the arrest of those involved in kidnappings.
He said among 433 people arrested since September over “terrorist activities,” including abductions and killings, a large number were either police, soldiers or deserters.
“We have arrested a large number of police and servicemen and even an employee of the def