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Major breakthrough in Kahawatte killings

In April last year, villagers of Niladura in Divulwela staged a mass public protest by burning tyres on roads to vent their anger over the inability of the Kahawatte police to solve the mysterious murders of elderly women in their areas. Nine elderly women who lived alone at their homes at Kotakothana-Divulgala, Opatha, Katange, and Niladura villages were killed by sharp cutting instruments and their mutilated bodies covered with clothes to conceal the wounds.

Following the upheaval in the village, several police and CID teams began investigating the mysterious murders that led to the arrest of several suspects linked to the killings. Following the arrests, calm returned to the village.

Then came the killing of a mother and her young daughter, a schoolgirl who were brutally stabbed to death while they were at home. The killing took place on January 31. Police identified the deceased as Nayana Nilmini (52) and her daughter Kavindi Chaturangi (18), a schoolgirl of Fergueson College, Ratnapura. The mother and her daughter were residents of Kotakethana, a hamlet in the Kahawatte area.

The mother too was a past pupil of the same school. Labourers picking firewood at the Opatha rubber estate discovered the decomposed body of a naked girl lying in an abandoned estate.

A Pradeshiya Sabha member telephoned the Kahawatte police and informed them that Nayana Nilmini's body was found lying at her home at Kotakethana.

Naked body

When Kahawatte police rushed to the location, they found the naked body of Nayana Nilmini lying on her bed covered with a bed sheet.

There were several wounds on her head and the body as well. She had been stabbed to death with a sharp cutting weapon. It didn't take long for the police to discover the bodies of the mother and the daughter.

They had been killed while they were at their home on January 31.

The killers thereafter had removed Chaturangi's body from home and dumped it in an abandoned rubber estate at Opatha four kilometres away from their home. The body was transported in a three wheeler, police said.

Several police teams including the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) began investigating the brutal killings during the past few months. Finally, the CID sleuths made a breakthrough when they arrested a brother of a Godakawala Pradeshiya Sabha member and his wife along with a three wheeler driver linked to the gruesome murder, last wednesday, after painstaking investigations, said the police Media Spokesman SP, Ajith Rohana when contacted by the Sunday Observer.

When villagers of Kahawatte learnt of the arrest they celebrated by lighting crackers on the road and congregating in large numbers to show their solidarity in the Kahawatte town.

The jubilant crowd then burnt tyres on the highway and marched towards the Kotakethana village where they set ablaze a house that belonged to the suspect's brother.

The crowd then proceeded to the ancestral home of the Pradeshiya Sabha member at Kotakethna and set it ablaze. Thereafter, the crowd marched towards Opatha town and set ablaze the three wheeler driverís home as well.

However as the Kahawatte police could not contain the boisterous crowd, the police Special Task Force(STF) Commandos had to be summoned to maintain law and order.

The STF officers persuaded the crowd to disperse peacefully without further incidents.

Fateful night

According to police sources, the suspect and his wife had gone to the house of Nayana Nilmini's home on that fateful night and called for her.

When she opened the door she was set upon by the suspect and stabbed to death.

When her daughter Chaturangi heard her mother scream and rushed to the door she too was stabbed to death by the same man.

Thereafter they took the daughterís body in a three wheeler and dumped it at an abandoned estate at Opatha.

The motive for the killing both the mother and the daughter was because they were aware the suspect was linked to the heroin trade.

The suspect and his wife feared that Nayana Nilmini would inform police of their links to the drug trade.

Nayana Nilmini was an attractive woman. Her husband was employed in Colombo doing odd jobs. She had a son Chaturanga Sellaheva (24) and a daughter Kavindi Chaturangani (18) by that marriage.

Her son was employed in a private company in Colombo while the mother and the daughter lived at their village home. Their home was thoroughly neglected due to the meagre income they received from the sole breadwinner of the family.

Media briefing

At a media briefing held last year, IGP N.K. Illangakoon said that steps were taken to arrest the suspects linked to the mysterious killings at Kahawatte to dispel fears and to restore law and order in the Kahawatte area. He said five murder cases had been solved with the arrest of the suspects.

Kahawatte came to the spotlight following the killing of seven women in the area from 2008 up to 2011.

The first murder was of a woman aged 56 at an estate in July 2008.

The second murder was of a 52- year- old woman, committed in November 2008. The third murder of a 47 year old woman was committed in April 2010. In the same year an 80 - year- old woman was murdered in December. Thereafter a 66 year old woman was murdered in April 2011. On May 31, 2011 an 85 year old woman was murdered. On June 19,2011 a 48 year old woman at Niladura Khawatte was murdered.

 

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