Sri Lankan Foreign minister Kadirgamar killed, 12 arrested

Kadirgamar, the Sri Lankan Foreign minister, was shot three times by snipers as he swam in a newly constructed pool at his own residence. Sri Lankan police have arrested 12 ethnic minority Tamils in overnight raids over his death. Sri Lankan President Chandra Kumaratunga said Sunday the country would not bow down to terror nor allow it to succeed in or compromise the security of peoples, She claimed she was committed to achieving peace despite the assassination of the country's foreign minister.

Kadirgamar, 73, was an orthodox Christian Tamil but began studying world religions in high school and university and developed strong interests in Buddhism and other religions, Perera said.

His state funeral Monday will reflect that study with a mix of Hindu, Buddhist and Christian religious traditions, including a cremation, AP reports.

"He didn't like to be labelled," Perera said. "He had a very wide outlook and if asked would say he was Sri Lankan."

Kadirgamar had been receiving death threats since 1994 after he led a campaign to expose atrocities on civilian populations because of the conflict, and had few chances to talk to citizens because of security concerns.

At the wake held at his official residence many who had been denied the chance to talk with him in recent years thronged in the garden of the colonial era house to await a turn to pay their respects.

"So many people called and asked to pay last respects," said Perera, who had worked with him for five years. "His name now goes on in history as someone who told the world what really happens here."

Kadirgamar spearheaded a campaign that led to the Tigers being outlawed abroad, including in the United States and Britain, and was one of the most tightly protected Sri Lankan ministers with nearly 100 elite bodyguards.

"We can't let terror and hatred overcome us," Kumaratunga said in a nationwide television address. "As long as the ethnic problem remains unresolved, violence and terror will always be with us."

Kumaratunga said she holds the Tamil Tigers responsible for the death of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, despite the group's denials, the BBC reported.

"It is unacceptable that a group that talks endlessly about being committed to a ceasefire should so blatantly violate it," she said.

Kadirgamar, who led a campaign to have the Tamil Tigers outlawed in other countries, was killed by snipers Friday at his Colombo home, Science Today informs.

The army, navy and police were involved in the raids in and around the capital, Colombo, said Brigadier Daya Ratnayake, a ministry spokesman. Eleven men and one woman were arrested.

"They are being interrogated, but at this moment of time we don't want to say anything," Ratnayake said.

A state of emergency went into effect within hours of the killing of the heavily protected Kadirgamar, shot by suspected Tamil Tiger snipers on Friday evening at his home after taking a swim.

Hundreds of people paid their last respects, ethnic Tamils and Sinhalese alike saying goodbye to a man who declined all labels but Sri Lankan.

In a sun-baked street lined with white prayer flags, mourners walked slowly past his open casket at the colonial-era home.

"He had been cut off from the general public because of the security threats and he met only a few people," Swinitha Perera, his private secretary was quoted as saying by AP.

"But he loved to talk to people, and many who knew him from earlier wanted the last chance to say goodbye."