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Rape of Swiss woman in N’Eliya Women shouldn’t travel alone – John Amaratunga
Published Date: 10/01/2018 (Wednesday)

By Paneetha Ameresekere

Minister of Tourism Development, John Amaratunga yesterday (9) advised women to refrain from travelling alone and instead travel in numbers.

"Women should be careful when walking alone," he added.

He was responding to a question posed by this reporter about the rape of an 18-year-old Swiss woman at knifepoint at 'Single Tree' in the Nuwara Eliya District on 4 January. Police are yet to make a breakthrough.

"We take this matter seriously. So far, no travel advisory has been put out by the Swiss authorities warning......their citizens on travel to Sri Lanka," he said. Regarding the recent death of a British national under mysterious circumstances in Maligawatta, Colombo, Amaratunga said that they were expecting a breakthrough soon. The Minister also said that thus far the United Kingdom authorities have not issued a travel advisory.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) of Nuwara Eliya, Mahinda Dissanayake stated that he was confident about making a breakthrough in respect of the rape of the Swiss woman, which took place at 'Single Tree,' a suburb located three kilometres from Nuwara Eliya Town on 4 January.

The crime was committed during the day.

"Based on the information provided by the victim, we have drawn a sketch of the suspect and are on the lookout for him," he said. "On 8 January we conducted an identification parade of 12 suspects who were later released as the victim could not identify them," Dissanayake said. He described 'Single Tree' as a scenic, but lonely place and the woman had been advised against going there alone.

The suspect had spoken to her in halting English, befriended her, and after winning her confidence, committed the crime at knifepoint, Dissanayake said.

"The victim had described the suspect as wearing a thread around his wrist, but we are not sure whether it was a pirith noola or a band," Dissanayake added. The locality of 'Single Tree' comprises a mixed population of both Sinhalese and Tamils, the SSP said.

"Immediately after the incident, I deployed a force of 120 Policemen to comb the area," Dissanayake said.

Meanwhile, Director of the Police Tourist Division, J.S. Weerasekara added that the case is being handled by the SSP of the Nuwara Eliya Division and confirmed that thus far there has been no breakthrough. He also said that they planned to establish Tourist Police units in Nuwara Eliya and Kalpitiya soon.

"Already, 11 such Tourist Police units are functioning island wide," he said.

"The only hitch is that these units come under the purview of the respective Police division and not under the Tourist Police Division, which has its centralized operations in Colombo," Weerasekara said.

"As such we do not get first hand information about such incidents, as those offences are investigated by the respective Police division in question, even if there may be a Tourist Police Unit established in the area where the offence has been committed," Weerasekara said.

Minister of Law and Order, Sagala Ratnayaka was not immediately available for comment.

Tourism was Sri Lanka's ninth largest foreign exchange earner, prior to the end of the war in 2009, but since the end of the war, it has jumped to the third position, being only behind remittances and garments.

Source: Ceylon Today

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