Gunmen abducts Tamil businessman abducted in Sri Lankan capital

Unidentified gunmen abducted an ethnic Tamil businessman in the Sri Lankan capital in the latest of a spate of kidnappings across the country, police said Thursday.

Six men, two dressed in uniforms similar to the police, abducted Vadivel Ananthan Siva, 53, late Wednesday after stopping his vehicle in the busy Tamil neighborhood of Wellawatte in Colombo, police spokesman Rienzie Perera said.

Perera said police were investigating and that it was too early to determine a motive.

Sri Lanka has experienced a series of abductions, most of them blamed on armed groups opposed to the Tamil Tiger rebels. The rebels have also been blamed for some abductions.

Wednesday's kidnapping is the first known case in Colombo since violence flared between the rebels and the military in December despite a cease-fire signed three years ago. At least 150 people, including 81 government soldiers, have been killed.

The pro-rebel Web-site, TamilNet, also reported the Wednesday's abduction and said the men who abducted Siva spoke Tamil. It gave no other details.

Representatives from the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels are scheduled to meet in Geneva on Feb. 22-23 in an effort to bolster the 2002 cease-fire, which has come under severe strain due to spiraling violence, reports the AP.


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