Devakumar, Jaffna correspondent for the independent channel
News 1st, was stabbed to death when he was attacked by supporters of the
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), according to Sunanda Deshapriya,
spokesman for local press freedom group the Free Media Movement.
Deshapriya said that FMM’s investigations had shown that Devakumar was killed
by Tamil Tiger supporters in retribution for critical reporting on LTTE activities
in the area. Deshapriya also noted the journalist had covered a
government-sponsored rally that the LTTE had wanted him to avoid.
The group also killed Mahendran Warden, a friend of the
journalist who was traveling with him by motorbike in the government-controlled
area, according to a report published on the News 1st Web site. Devakumar and
Warden were returning home in the evening when the attack occurred, news
reports said. Warden was the son of a leading member of the Eelam People’s
Democratic Party, a Tamil party working with the government, Deshapriya said.
Devakumar was one of the few remaining journalists reporting
from the peninsula, a focal point in the civil war between the predominantly
Sinhalese government and the LTTE, which claims territory for an ethnic Tamil
homeland. Conflict worsened in recent years, and a 2002 cease-fire agreement was
abandoned in January 2008.