by Hemantha Randunu
(Translated by Uditha Devapriya)
Nawala Nihal was once known as the Godfather of the Underworld. After the disappearance of Nawala Nihal, Makandure Madush claimed that title.
Two days before Makandure Madush’s assassination, he confessed to the crimes he had committed for over 20 years. The six-hour confession made to a high-ranking official revealed many of the secrets behind many of Madush’s crimes.
Madush’s confession revealed all the details of the attack on the prison bus at Ethanamadala in Kalutara and the murder of seven including Ranale Samayan.
The article is based on excerpts from Madush’s confession.
By 2017, Ranale Samayan’s gang had become a big threat to us. Angoda Lokka always complained that he would be killed off at some point by Samayan.
At the time Angoda Lokka had tried twice or thrice to kill Samayan. But none of those plans proved to be successful. I also wanted to murder Samayan.
Makandure Madush began to reflect on those past events one by one in front of a senior police officer. By 2017, the underworld clashes between the underworld gang led by Ranale Samayan and the group led by Angoda Lokka were escalating. Although Ranale Samayan was being held at the Kalutara Prison then, he managed his underworld gang very subtly with the help of some of the corrupt officials at the Kalutara prison. In return, corrupt officials received large sums of money and gifts. The Kalutara prison was a safe haven for Samayan.
After a moment of silence, Madhush raised his voice again.
Angoda Lokka sent a man inside the Nugegoda court to shoot Samayan. But the work went awry. Samayan was shot but he did not die.
Before Samayan was transferred to Kalutara Prison he was in Welikada. His wife brought him everything he wanted when he was inside. Samayan would definitely be hurt if his wife’s visits stopped abruptly and if she was killed. So I told Angoda Lokka to murder Samayan’s wife.
Angoda Lokka handed over the job to two boys and sent them off to Welikada Prison. But all our plans went astray. The two boys mistakenly shot another woman.
Samayan received information that we were trying to kill his wife. So he wanted to get his own back by planning to kill off my wife who was caring for our disabled child in Makandura. After this incident, I developed a great hatred for Samayan. I made a decision to kill Samayan.
Samayan murdered Harsha, his right hand man.
Harsha Yasas is one of the oldest members of Makandure Madush’s underworld gang. Harsha was the mastermind behind the assassination of Danny Hiththetiyage, the Chairman of the Southern Development Authority, at Madush’s request. Harsha was murdered while at a house in Obeysekerepura in Rajagiriya. Harsha was spending the night at his mistress’s house when two of Samayan’s gang members broke in and shot him dead.
We found out he was tightly protected the day he was brought to court. It was difficult for us to do anything inside court. So I planned to attack him while he was being transported on the prison bus from Kalutara. On the other hand, I wanted to do something that would shake the country, creating a huge demand for our team.
The senior police officer was listening very carefully to Madush’s story. It was clear to the police officer that these confessions of Madush were not lies. He asked Madush about several issues that had arisen at that time.
Who made the plan to attack the Prison bus while Samayan was being transported to court?
Madush replied, looking straight at the senior official’s face.
I planned it sir. Ten or fifteen years ago I was in Kalutara Prison for a while. I was taken to court by the Prison bus. There are large coconut estates on either side of the road leading from Kalutara Prison to the Main road.
About 250 meters from the Kalutara prison, there are large coconut plantations on both sides of the road. No two vehicles can cross at the same time. There were two hills on either side. That location I kept on my mind. I decided that this was the best place from which to attack the bus. In the past, when I was being taken to court from Kalutara Prison, small lorries loaded with coconuts were stopped on this road. They were collecting coconuts from the groves nearby. These lorries were often there. This was also on my mind.
The senior police officer could not even imagine how Madush had planned to assassinate Ranale Samayan. Madush had planned to block the bus by leaving a vehicle loaded with coconuts on this road. The officer was surprised by the crafty intelligence in Madush’s plan.
I planned to attack Samayan and called Angoda Lokka from Dubai. I explained to him the plan to attack the Prison bus.
“Go to Kalutara Prison today. Take a good look at the road leading to the main road from Prison. There are two small hills with shrubs on either side of the road. We need to attack the Prison bus by hiding between these two hills. You have to put a lorry and block the road. If this plan is executed correctly, no one can stop us from killing Samayan.”
Angoda Lokka inspected the location, the narrow road and picked the most suitable place to carry out the attack as instructed by Madush. The plan to attack the prison bus and kill Samayan required a large number of weapons. Although it was problem for Angoda Lokka, finding many weapons at once for the attack was a simple problem for Madush.
“Don’t worry, I’ll find the weapons. On the day Samayan is taken to court, a police guard will also arrive. So there’s a big team here. We have to be ready for anything. Otherwise we will be captured. We must have at least ten T-56 weapons. I’ll sort it out,” said Madush, reassuring Angoda Lokka.
The senior police officer had a problem with how the T-56 firearms were obtained for the attack. Where did those weapons come from?, he asked curiously.
I have friends in the security forces. I borrowed six T-56 weapons from a certain Special Security Division, on the promise of returning the weapons after they have served their purpose.
The police officer was stunned by what Madush said. However, it was clear that the information revealed was not untrue taking into recent developments about corrupt officials. The fact that none of the T-56 assault rifles that attacked the prison bus in Kalutara had been found so far had further inflamed the suspicions of the policeman.
Angoda Lokka got the vehicles for attacking the prison bus ready and I set up some people who were needed for this work. Angoda Lokka and his student of sorts, Ladiya, were ready to lead this attack.
Makandure Madhush had a very good intelligence network. Using his spies, Madusha was able to find out much about what was going on at the Kalutara prison.
A few of the people who work at the prison are good friends of mine. I’m informed about everything. I knew in advance that the bus carrying Samayan to court would not receive a police guard. It made our work easier. The weapons of the jailors were old. We do not have to work hard to get used to them. We did not have to worry about the prison guard.
“Five members of the underworld gang, including Samayan, were due to be produced in court on February 27, 2017. We will complete our plan on the 27th,” I told Angoda Lokka, giving the necessary instructions. “Madush, we will be arrested by the police at some point after this attack. So take us to Dubai after the attack,” Angoda Lokka told me.
I thought if Angoda Lokka came to Dubai, it would create a problem for me. So, I planned to send him off to India. I had a partner engaged in the drug trade in India named Suresh. I entrusted the task of taking care of Angoda Lokka and Ladiya to Suresh. The task of transporting these two to India by boat was handed over to Modara Pukudikanna.
By February 26, 2017, everything needed for the attack was ready. Angoda Lokka arranged a cab and a van to go to the location. At that time Angoda Lokka had seized six T-56 firearms which were allegedly obtained from a high-ranking officer in the security forces. Three of those who joined the attack had received police uniforms. Angoda Lokka also received a police inspector’s uniform.
I talked on the phone with every person assigned for the attack. They were encouraged by my words. Some of the boys were a little scared. I talked to them and motivated them. The underworld thugs including Angoda Lokka and Ladiya were stationed in the area where the attack was planned at around 7.30 am on the 27th.
There were 11 guards for security. They had seven weapons. The two buses were scheduled to leave at 8.00 am. There are five people in the prison bus on the front. I was informed that there were six people on the second bus. I immediately passed all that information to the Angoda Lokka.
A double cab was stopped in the middle of the road blocking it. Five boys were stationed between two hills with bushes on either side of the road. They were prepared to shoot from the sides of the bus. Three men in police uniforms and two other boys were on the road. They were instructed to attack the front of the prison bus.
When the two prison buses left the prison and came along the narrow road, Angoda Lokka and a few boys were blocking the road. The guards must have thought the police were blocking the road. As the two buses approached, our boys were shooting from the front. Within seconds, the boys, who were hiding in the hills on either side of the road, began firing too.
The guards couldn’t do anything. In five or six minutes we were done. Samayan, who had been shot inside the bus, was dragged to the door of the bus. Angoda Lokka put him down and fired a few more shots. One of the shooters showed me all this in a WhatsApp video call. We had no intention of killing any of the prison guard. But it was necessary for the plan to succeed.
Sir, we returned the T-56 weapons after the attack. That’s where our deal ended. That same night Angoda Lokka and Ladiya were taken to India. I was so happy with how the plan turned out, and it relieved me.
Makandure Madush ended his six hour confession in front of a senior police officer. Exactly two days after making this confession, Madush was shot by an unknown gunman.
SLAF on hazardous wall, Sri Lanka Air Force has sent us the following statement……
Sri Lanka Air Force has sent us the following statement in response to an article (That hazardous Ratmalana Wall) published on 21 Jan.
It is with regret that I would like to inform you that the newspaper article titled “That Hazardous Ratmalana Wall” published in The “Island” newspaper of 21 January 2021 contains false information which has not been clarified from the Air Force Director Media nor any other official channel of the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF).
It should also be highlighted that the Sri Lanka Air Force does not wish to challenge the freedom of reporting information by journalists. However, news articles of this nature published with the use of unsubstantiated information tarnishes the image of Sri Lanka Air Force.
The newspaper article in concern has caught the attention of the Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force. As alleged in the article, the Commander has not declared on behalf of the SLAF that there is no objection for the removal of the wall and replacing it with a fence. On the contrary he had in fact stated that a collapsible wall could be put in place of the permanent wall which should have a solid finish obstructing the view from outside due to security reasons.
In addition, to date there has been no incident/accident reported at the Ratmalana Airfield related to the wall along the Galle Road. Further, vehicles such as passenger coach/container etc; travelling on the main road would be taller than the wall in concern and according to the article, the main road would also have to be closed each and every time when an aircraft approaching of taking off from that end of the runway. International runway due to limitations which is also can be considered as hazardous to flight safety, SLAF consider Flight Safety is a paramount important factor as an organization which operates different types of aircraft over the years from this airfield.
It is pertinent to mention the wall in concern was erected by the SLAF before year 2009 with the consent of the Airport and Aviation Sri Lanka (AASL) to address the security concerns at that time and maintained to date. The outer perimeter security of the Colombo International Airport at Ratmalana is being provided by the SLAF free of charge over years. As a measure of gratitude, with the consent of AASL and the approval of the Ministry of Defence (MOD), SLAF authorized to erect hoardings along this wall and to utilize the funds generated for welfare measures of airmen.
Further, publishing of an article which has an author with a fictional name will have serious and adverse effects on the newspaper as well as the goodwill which prevails between SLAF and AASL. The goodwill which prevails between the SLAF and your esteemed Organization will also be adversely effected by articles of this nature. SLAF Directorate of Media always provide accurate and precise information to media institutions which has an impact on general public as well as to other organizations. Undersigned is contactable any time of the day through mobile (0772229270) to clarify ambiguities of SLAF related information.
In conclusion, I would like to express our displeasure regarding the newspaper article in concern and the damage which has been done to the good name of the Sri Lanka Air Force and in particular to the Commander of Air Force.
for COMMANDER OF THE AIR FORCEs
By Rajitha Ratwatte
There is an old joke that goes around regularly about Sri Lankans’ in hell. How absolutely no guards are needed to keep Lankans in hell because they do a very good job of pulling each other down into hell when anyone even looks like they will escape. When you extrapolate that into real life in the Pearl, the examples are plenty. All of us have personal experiences of neighbours, peers, relations and even our bosses “cutting us” as the popular phrase goes. It is mostly those who either realise and watch out for these pitfalls or those who clearly identify a powerful figure to “bum suck” for want of a better word that display pure unadulterated sycophancy to, that “progress” to propagate these trends in the future. This I believe is something that is triggered by the basest of all human emotions, jealousy, and probably egged on by a sense of insecurity as well.
One would expect that in a nation of devout Buddhists such reprehensible behaviour would be addressed and controlled. Alas it is not to be and looks like it never will be.
It is rather disconcerting to observe that this behaviour is ‘going strong’ among the Lankan community in this the land of the “long White Cloud” as well. The more I live here and mix with the community, the more I hear about people who try to start new projects or give fruition to new and possibly brilliant schemes who have been stymied by fellow citizens born in the Pearl. They indulge in the anonymous letter method (that dates back from time immemorial) made even easier by using false identities, and “one-off” e mail addresses on the web. They inform all government authorities of what they believe are attempts to break the law of their adopted country. If there are bilateral trade agreements, they diligently contact the other parties and try to cast aspersions on the people concerned. They even inform the management of any company that these people with the new ideas may be working at, that their employee may be breaking a sub clause in his contract and thinking of doing some other business while working for them. All triggered by a wonderful sense of self-righteousness from people who don’t think twice about breaking the law when it concerns their own affairs!
As a result, those who have had a measure of success, guard their positions very carefully and a few who have tried to include other Lankans in their operations have learned hard lessons from those who stole their trade secrets and started rival businesses on their own. I daresay this happens in other communities too, but among the Chinese and Indian communities that form similar minorities in Aotearoa, there are official networks formed to help new immigrants. There are schemes and methods in place to help their people do business, especially in the field of imports, to try and reach some sort of equilibrium with regard to the balance of trade between Aotearoa and their home countries. Sri Lanka imports so much milk from New Zealand but almost nothing of our spices, gems and jewellery, tourism products or even our tea that used to have a much larger share of the market, are imported.
In these desperate economic times, shouldn’t the government be looking at ways to improve our export trade? There are so many pockets and communities of Lankans in so many different countries who are doing well enough to be able to afford some luxuries from their home countries but have to pay exorbitant prices or do without. A recent import of ‘sweet meats’ for Sinhala New Year saw such a massive offtake that great plans for expansion were disrupted by Covid-19, before the Lankan rivals could put paid to it. Although such plans were in place!
Something that is rather obvious to those observing the antics in the Pearl from outside is that there seems to be no plan. Innovative thinking, especially in the field of ‘non-traditional’ exports does not exist. We have all seen how fickle tourism is. Using our fertile soil and the artistic skills of our people to build a reputation for quality exports has been totally neglected in recent times. I daresay the relevant ministries and export bodies exist, but it is a well-known fact that they simply serve as JOBS for political catchers, who do nothing except enjoy a foreign junket or two every year on account of the taxpayer.
That brilliant marketing idea of the Ceylon Tea Centers was so far ahead of its time that no one really understood it. We had the best retail locations in some of the greatest cities in Europe and the UK and were building up a great reputation for serving quality tea and promoting our cuisine. It should have been expanded to handle handicraft products on the lines of Laksala and even spices. Of course, promoting our culture, hospitality and tourism would have followed. There are two ways to handle a crisis. We can either put up our shutters and slide deeper and deeper into the mire of debt and economic ruin, or take some bold steps, make innovative investments and take a gamble on products and ideas that are endemic to our country.
Even if the latter method fails the end result couldn’t be much worse! Go down fighting I say! Rather than ask expatriates to come back and try to work in a totally corrupt and politician dominated society, approach expatriates with ideas in other countries and back them to promote those ideas if they show real economic benefits to our land. Not everything will work but even a 5% success rate is better than nothing at all.
It is also acknowledged that RANIL has been reappointed as leader of the UNP. Now then, what does this mean? Is it that the Uncle-Nephew party has stuck to tradition or does it mean that at least some people have realized that an experienced politician with world recognition and a certain amount of credibility in the first world, is useful to have around? Search your minds all you critics who blamed absolutely everything on Ranil. Have a dispassionate look at the Muppets in parliament and think for yourself what sort of account they would give of themselves on the world stage. After you do this, place Ranil on the world stage next to those morons and realize for yourself the DIFFERENCE!
Lenin comes to town (again)
By Gwynne Dyer
When Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny returned to Moscow on Sunday after convalescing in Germany from an attempted poisoning by the FSB domestic spy agency, the regime-friendly media loyally failed to mention his arrival. With one striking exception: Vremya, the flagship news show of Russian state television.
Presumably, somebody there was hoping to win favour with the Kremlin, because they briefly mentioned Navalny three-quarters of the way through Sunday’s two-hour programme. In fact, they compared Navalny’s trip home to Vladimir Lenin’s famous return to Russia in 1917, and suggested that he was as great a danger to Russia as Lenin had been.
As every Russian knows, the Germans plucked Lenin from exile in Switzerland in the middle of the First World War. He was sent across Germany in a ‘sealed train’ (so he wouldn’t spread the infection of Communism there) to St. Petersburg, then in the throes of Russia’s first democratic revolution – and he did just what the Germans had hoped he would.
Lenin overthrew the fumbling democratic ‘Provisional Government’ in a military coup, took Russia out of the First World War – and launched a 73-year totalitarian Communist regime that cost at least 20 million Russian lives in purges, famines and lesser acts of repression. Is Navalny really that great a danger?
The ambitious presenter at Vremya probably won’t get the job he wanted, because President Vladimir Putin really won’t have liked seeing his noisiest critic compared in stature to Lenin, a genuine world-historical figure. Putin himself never mentions Navalny’s name at all.
Russians cannot even put a name to the system they live under, as the poor Vremya presenter’s confusion illustrates. It’s certainly not a democracy, although there are regular elections. It’s definitely not Communist, although most of the regime’s senior figures were Communists before they discovered a better route to power and wealth.
It’s not a monarchy, although Putin has been in power for twenty years and is surrounded by a court of extremely rich allies and cronies. And ‘kleptocracy’ is just a pejorative term used mostly by foreigners, although Navalny does habitually refer to Putin and his cronies as “crooks and thieves”.
In fact, Putin’s regime is not a system at all. Its only ideology is a traditional Russian nationalism that is lightweight compared to blood-and-soil religious and racist movements like Trump’s in the United States and Modi’s in India. It’s a purely personal regime, and it is very unlikely to survive his dethronement or demise.
Putin has been in power for twenty years, and he has just changed the constitution with a referendum that lets him stay in power until 2036. But that seems unlikely, partly because he is already 68 and partly because the younger generation of Russians is getting restless and bored.
Navalny is a brave man who has gone home voluntarily to face a spell in Putin’s jails. (He missed two parole appointments for a suspended sentence on trumped-up embezzlement charges because he was in Germany recovering from the FSB assassination attempt.) But his role in Russian politics so far had been more gadfly than revolutionary.
His supporters do their homework and make clever, witty videos detailing the scandalous financial abuses of the regime (the latest is a virtual tour of Putin’s new $1 billion seaside palace on the Black Sea near Novorossiysk), but he is probably not the man who will finally take Putin down. What he is doing to great effect is mobilising the tech-savvy young.
Since 2018 the average age of protesters at anti-Putin demos, mostly linked to Navalny one way or another, has dropped by a decade, and their boldness has risen in proportion. Moreover, their attitude to the regime now verges on contempt. Rightly so: consider, for example, the last two assassination attempts by regime operatives.
In 2018, the GRU, the Russian military intelligence agency, sent two agents to England to kill defector Sergei Skripov and his daughter Yulia. The agents made two trips to Salisbury because they couldn’t find the right house, they were tracked by CCTV every step of the way, and in the end, they left too little novichok (nerve poison) on the doorknob to kill the targets.
Equally crude and bumbling was the FSB’s attack on Navalny in Tomsk, where the novichok was put on his underpants. Once again, the target survived, and afterwards the investigative site Bellingcat was able to trace FSB agents tracking Navalny on forty flights over several years before the murder was attempted.
Neither agency is fit for 21st-century service, nor is the regime they both serve. Russians have put up with it for a long time because they were exhausted and shamed by the wild political banditry of the 1990s, but Putin’s credit for having put an end to that has been exhausted. He may still be in power for years, but this is a regime on the skids.
SLAF on hazardous wall, Sri Lanka Air Force has sent us the following statement……
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