Colombo not forthright in paramilitary issue- SLMM
[TamilNet, Sunday, 15 January 2006, 01:59 GMT]
"The [Sri Lanka] government claimed that it had nothing to do with this [Karuna] group and was not aware of their existence. But when we visited the spot in the east and asked the Sri Lankan army where we could find Karuna, they told us where to go. So it was clear that the local army knew where he was," said Sunday Leader, a Colombo weekly, in the Sunday edition, quoting Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) Spokesperson Helen Olafsdottir as saying in an interview to the paper.
SLMM Spokesperson Helen Olafsdottir (Photo:Sunday Leader)
Effective implementation of the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) has been a contentious issue between the Sri Lanka Government and the Liberation Tigers, and the leadership of LTTE has resolutely stood for the strict implementation of Clause 1.8 that prohibits activities of armed groups as imperative to prevent violence.
Ms Olafsdottir added: "We do not have evidence that the government is directly supporting or harbouring Karuna. But the government is aware of such a group and its existence but has not addressed it properly. This makes our monitoring even more difficult," the paper said.
On the question of number of violations of CFA, Ms Olafsdottir, again referred to the paramilitary issue. "You see everyone will think that my answer will be LTTE. If you look at the numbers, I think the LTTE has violated the CFA more. But it goes a lot deeper than that. The current dilemma stems from beneath the surface. There are several paramilitary groups operating and we have seen one of these camps and it was quite clear that the army on the ground was aware because this was in the government controlled area," the paper quoted Ms Olafsdottir as saying.
Ms Olafsdottir faulted the Liberation Tigers for not being forthright in explaining who was responsible for the attacks in the North.
"We certainly do not have evidence in the attacks that took place in Jaffna. When these attacks take place it is difficult to find out who is behind it. Whenever there is a claymore mine attack we do not know who is behind this. But the army says they have evidence. We approached the LTTE in the month of December and asked them whether they were involved and they denied. And we asked them if they knew who is behind this and they said the people were behind.
"We did not find the answers to be satisfactory. We found it quite frustrating. So we sent them a letter asking them that if they know for sure that the people are behind this that they should identify them for us. But to date there has not been any reply. We will pursue this because we are not satisfied with their answers. These attacks are well orchestrated. An organised group of people could be responsible for such attacks," Ms Olafsdottir said, the paper added.
She referred to a recent SLMM statement to say that if the dangerous escalation of violence in Batticaloa, Jaffna and in Trincomalee is not stopped there would be war.
15.01.06 Interview with SLMM Spokesperson Helen Olafsdottir
09.12.05 CFA, Muslim Tamil amity, key to peace - Thamilchelvan
03.12.05 CFA, key to end Rights violations- Thamilchelvan