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Diplomatic incident Sri Lanka launches probe into kidnapping of Swiss embassy worker

swiss embassy colombo

The Swiss embassy in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka.

(Keystone / Anthony Anex)

The Sri Lankan authorities have initiated an investigation into the alleged kidnapping and threats made against a local employee of the Swiss embassy in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo. 

The Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement published on Thursdayexternal link that Sri Lanka had launched an “immediate investigation” following news of the alleged kidnapping on Monday. 

According to the Sri Lanka news website lankanewsweb.netexternal link, the female embassy employee was kidnapped on Monday then held and questioned for two hours before being released. 

On Wednesday, the Swiss foreign ministry confirmed the incident and told in a written statement that the woman was threatened in order to force her to disclose “embassy-related information”. 

“Switzerland promptly reported the incident to the Sri Lankan authorities and is demanding an immediate and complete investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident,” wrote ministry spokesman Pierre-Alain Eltschinger. 

The Sri Lankan ambassador to Switzerland was also summoned to the foreign ministry in Bern to update the authorities on the incident. 

The Swiss foreign ministry has not said what the perpetrators were looking for. alleged the attack was in connection with a high-ranking Sri Lankan police inspector who – according to a report in the Neue Zürcher Zeitungexternal link – has fled to Switzerland due to death threats. 

According to the NZZ, the inspector had been investigating corruption and rights violations in connection with the entourage of newly-elected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. He left Sri Lanka on Sunday, the newspaper reported, and has requested asylum in Switzerland. 

The State Secretariat for Migration did not respond to a request by the Keystone news agency to confirm this, citing the protection of personal privacy for individuals.

Keystone-SDA/dos,mga, sb

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