Armed men beat MAG staffers in Batticaloa

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 22 February 2006, 11:49 GMT]
Armed men in civilian clothes claiming to be belonging to paramilitary Karuna Group entered the offices of MAG (Mines Advisory Group) in Batticaloa at 2.55 p.m. Wednesday and beat a local staffer working at the office, and threatened the British national heading the Batticaloa office of MAG, sources in Batticaloa said.

MAG is a partner organization of Tamils Rehabilitation Organization (TRO).

The paramilitaries spoke Tamil and told the local staff and all MAG personnel not to work in the area.

Meanwhile, TRO, in a press release issued Wednesday condemned the attack and said: "TRO urges the responsible Sri Lankan authorities to investigate and provide security measures to the Humanitarian agencies. TRO calls upon the International Community and the Civil Society to raise their voices against these attacks. All the attacks against TRO should also be investigated the perpetrators brought to justice. It is the civilian population that suffers when humanitarian workers and organizations are attacked. The demining operations carried out by TRO make areas in the NorthEast safe for resettlement and allow the people return to their farming livelihoods. This function is fundamental for normalization and allows people to return to their pre-war settlements."

MAG provides guidance and funding, donated by Sweden (SIDA) and the Government of Japan for the Batticaloa District demining projects. TRO is the largest demining organization in the NorthEast with over 1000 deminers working in partnership with Norwegian’s Peoples’ Aid (NPA), Danish Demining Group (DDG), Swiss Deming Agency (FSD) and MAG on projects throughout Batticaloa, Amparai, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya, Mannar, and Kilinochchi. 108 TRO deminers are currently working in the demining project in the Batticaloa District. Over 2 million mines remain to be cleared in areas of the NorthEast, the TRO's press release said.

Seven TRO staff members abducted by paramilitaries on the 29 and 30 January are still missing.

 

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