by Shamindra Ferdinando -The Island
As Thursday’s abduction and torture of Keith Noyahr, Associate Editor of The Nation, drew widespread condemnation, Sunday Island inquiries revealed his tormentors had been taken him to Dompe and then brought him back to his Dehiwela residence after Rivira Media Corporation triggered a frantic search for him.
Well informed sources said the gang would have been after the identity of Noyahr’s ‘sources.’
The timely intervention of Lalith Alahakoon, Editor of The Nation and Krishantha Prasad Cooray,
CEO of the Rivira Media Corporation, had forced the government to search for the missing journalist. But his release, the sources said asserted would have been after the gang had established the identities of the target’s ‘sources.’
Now, they would be after his ‘sources,’ the sources said. Had not for their intervention, Noyahr would have been killed and dumped somewhere, the sources said.
A UK based businessman early this year bought a 49 per cent stake of Rivira Media Corporation which publishes ‘Rivira’, ‘The Nation’ and ‘Bottom Line’ newspapers. He is reported to have paid Rs. 100 million.
The remaining shares of Rivira Media are owned by Richard Peiris and Company of which Dr. Sena Yaddehige is Chairman/MD and key shareholder.
Noyahr had dinner with Alahakoon and Cooray at Queen Café near the British Council leaving for his Waidya Road residence in the Dehiwela police area. The abductors had taken him most probably at gun point as he got off his car, leaving the lights on and engine running, to open the gate, the sources said.
They said that as Noyahr neared his home, he had called his wife on his mobile phone to open the gate, the sources said. After seeing an empty car with its engine running, she had immediately alerted Alahakoon and Cooray who in turn had got in touch with the government, the sources said.
Despite the hour, a senior minister had promptly got in touch with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who in turn initiated action to locate the missing man.
Subsequently it had been established the vehicle carrying Noyahr was moving towards Malwana and while police alerted local police stations, the missing man had been brought back by his abductors who dropped him outside his home.
The attack on Noyahr who wrote under the pen name Senpathi was the latest in a series of attacks directed against the print and electronic media for being critical of ruling party politicians and officials.