Dismissing allegations that they were involved in the attack of the Sunday Leader's associate editor, the Sri Lankan army said it "refutes all such allegations".
In a statement, the Army's spokesperson Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said:
“Some statements/reports have even attempted to portray this as an attack on the media. This is far from the truth and we refute all such allegations. The Sri Lanka Army does not approve of any crime and particularly we regret this incident in which a senior journalist has suffered at the hands of a gang of thieves"
Commenting on one the suspect, who is said to be Private K.P. Chamara Kumara, the Army's spokesperson claimed,
"This soldier was arrested whilst in service in September 2009 for theft. After a summary trial according to the Army Act he was awarded 90 days detention on October 6 and whilst being held in detention at his Regimental Centre to be handed over to the Panagoda Detention Barracks (an Army correctional facility administered by the Military Police) he escaped from detention and deserted on October 8, 2009. On May 24, 2010 he surrendered.
After due disciplinary procedure he was awarded 90 days detention in July 2010 and was detained at Panagoda Detention Barracks. Upon completion of the period of detention he was handed over to the Regimental Centre on September 9, 2010 and on October 6 2010 he became absent without leave and was later declared a deserter. On June 25, 2013 Hungama Police arrested this deserting soldier and he was handed over to his Regiment on July 9, 2013.
Upon a summary trial it was decided to discharge the soldier from service as per due procedure and he was temporarily discharged (such temporary discharge is instituted until clearance from all Army establishments is obtained) from July 15, 2013 to August 20, 2013. The second soldier, identified as Rifleman Asanka Ubeysiri, had joined the Army on March 6, 2009 and deserted the service on May 25, 2010. Since then he has never been reported or arrested until this incident.
Police are conducting investigations and there is no doubt the truth would be revealed in due course.”