Unidentified attackers set fire to a private television station in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo today after smashing editing equipment, police said. About a dozen men stormed the Siyatha television studious in Colombo and exploded a petrol bomb after systematically destroying equipment inside the news room studios, a journalist from the station said. “The station is off the air because our equipment has been destroyed,” the journalist said, asking not to be named. “About a dozen men had come into the building after breaking open the gates.”
Siyatha owners were earlier seen as supporters of the ruling party, but government sources accused them of backing the opposition candidate during President Mahinda Rajapakse’s re-election bid in January. A police spokesman said an investigation was underway following the pre-dawn attack. The attackers were armed with automatic weapons, and assaulted two unarmed guards who required hospitalisation.
Today’s attack was the first targeting a private television station since an identical torching of another private TV network near the capital in January last year. No one has been brought to justice in connection with that attack.