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Dec-28-2011 00:53printcomments

Why Was a Red Cross Manager on Vacation from Gaza Murdered in Sri Lanka?

A British tourist based in Gaza is killed by a mob in a tourist area.

A beach near Tangalle, Sri Lanka. Reports claimed Khuram Shaikh and Russian colleague Victoria Alexandrovna, 23, were attacked following an argument with a man at a hotel in the resort.
A beach near Tangalle, Sri Lanka. Reports claimed Khuram Shaikh and Russian colleague Victoria Alexandrovna, 23, were attacked following an argument with a man at a hotel in the resort.

(SALEM) - British citizen Khuram Shaikh Zaman, 32, of Manchester, died on Christmas Eve after he and his colleague, Victoria Alexandrovna, 23, Russian national, were attacked by a gang led by a politician in Tangalle, a popular tourist destination about 100 miles south of the capital Colombo.

According to reports, the two vacationers became involved in an argument with four men at their hotel. Later, the pair were approached by a mob of men who were heavily intoxicated, while dancing. It ended in the bloody murder of Mr. Zaman, who Alexandrovna tried to defend, becoming seriously injured in the process.

Zaman was a Red Cross physical rehabilitation programme manager based on the Gaza Strip; one of the most dangerous places on earth, under attack by Israeli jets as recently as yesterday. His friend said, "He provided prosthetics for people who have lost limbs" For Khuram Zaman and Victoria Zlexandrovna, Christmas day in Sri Lanka was far more dangerous than life in war-torn Gaza.

The Press Association contacted a spokeswoman for the Jerusalem office of the International Red Cross who said: "We do confirm he was a work colleague in Gaza. He was a physiotherapist and the manager of our physical rehabilitation project. He went on holiday to Sri Lanka with a colleague and unfortunately this has happened.

"We are deeply shocked and the International Committee of the Red Cross is grieved by the loss. He was a very committed member of the Red Cross team in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem."

The Colombo Page reports that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered an investigation into the killing of Mr. Zaman and the assault against his companion by a gang of thugs led by the Chairman of the local government Pradeshiya Sabha of Tangalle. The Criminal Investigation Department announced the pending arrests of seven more persons.

24-year old Sampath Chandra Pushpa Vidanapathirana, the chairman of Tangalle village council has been arrested, along with three others so far.

While little is clear at this point, police told reporters that the heavily intoxicated suspects mingled with the dancing tourists, and that the deceased, 32-year-old British national had photographed the dancers and later was involved in mediating a quarrel.

Khuram Zaman died from lacerations, according to the coroner's report, however investigators say the assailants also used an automatic rifle. The woman was injured while trying to save her companion from the attack, the police said. Ms. Alexandrovna remains in intensive care at this time in Sri Lanka after suffering "serious injuries". Mr. Zaman's family has been notified and efforts have been launched to assist them at this difficult time.

Sources:

Briton killed in Sri Lanka Christmas Day attack - Mirror UK

Sri Lanka police to arrest more suspects of the attack on British tourist - Colombo Page

British Red Cross worker, 32, killed in Christmas Day attack at holiday resort in Sri Lanka - Mail Online

_________________________________________________________
Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Tim King has more than twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim is a former U.S. Marine.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.

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Dexter December 28, 2011 6:10 am (Pacific time)

Another good reason why Journalists change there names when doing work in predominantly unstable work environments. This sounds like the same story of a journalist who was covering a rather sensitive story in West Africa. When the guy booked in to the hotel the reception person googled his name (due to being paid tip offs by the local government troops, who were suspicious of foreign people at the time in visiting a country with such civil unrest). This journalist soon went missing after being kidnapped by the local police "linch mob" and was never seen again. Even though Sri Lanker is a major tourist destination, it is still not the safest place to be if you get on the wrong side of the ruling government. Investigations and even the foreign embassies have very little control over the corrupt system and red tape when it comes to dealing and tracing information, related to foreign people that have been unfortunate when being caught up on problematic situations in such a country as this.

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