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Cablegate: Sri Lanka: Care International Local Employee

VZCZCXRO7266
OO RUEHLMC
DE RUEHLM #0207 0571204
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 261204Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7749
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4273
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1867
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 4277
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 1244
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 3373
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 8356
RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO 0551
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION
INFO RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI//J3/J332/J52//
RHMFIUU/CDRUSARPAC FT SHAFTER HI//APCW/APOP//
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2633
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0741

UNCLAS COLOMBO 000207

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA: CARE INTERNATIONAL LOCAL EMPLOYEE
ABDUCTED

REF: COLOMBO 177

1. (SBU) On February 26, the Country Director of CARE International
in Sri Lanka (headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia) contacted
Ambassador about the abduction of a CARE International staff member
from a police checkpoint in Colombo on the evening of February 25.
Three of CARE's staff from Ampara and Jaffna, in Colombo for a
workshop, were returning to the Sapphire Hotel from a nearby
restaurant. They were stopped by men in police uniforms who asked
to see their national identity cards. One of the staff members, Mr.
Athavan Thangaraya, was moved towards the curb, at which point a
white van stopped and Mr. Thangaraya was forcibly pushed inside.
The van then sped off to the south. The other two staff members did
not get the license plate number of the vehicle, but did provide
statements at a local police station. The senior officer on duty at
the station said that the information on the abducted staff member
would be circulated to all local police stations. The CARE
International Country Director sent letters to two Deputy Inspector
Generals of Police in Colombo, Nimal Mediwaka and D.W.
Prathapasinghe.

2. (SBU) After consulting with Osborne, Ambassador immediately sent
a letter to Inspector General of Police Victor Perera, with copies
to Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa and Minister of Disaster
Management and Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe. Ambassador
informed IGP Perera of the incident, stressed the urgency of
locating the employee, and requested information about any
developments in the case. Ambassador also called the Defense
Secretary to underline our interest in a speedy, favorable

SIPDIS
resolution. Rajapaksa was not aware of the incident but promised to
look into the matter right away. Embassy will continue to monitor
the situation closely.

BLAKE

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