SLMM condemns Kalpitti attack, raises paramilitary issue

[TamilNet, Sunday, 26 March 2006, 11:50 GMT]
Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) in a press release issued in Colombo Sunday condemned the attack on Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) in Kalpitti, and said that the SLMM is conducting inquiries to establish the details of the attack. While appealing to both parties to "refrain from provocative acts," the SLMM urged the Government of Sri Lanka to "take the [paramilitary] matter seriously and not close their eyes to armed elements that to our knowledge still operating in Government controlled areas."

Full text of the press release follows:

The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) strongly condemns the attack on the Sri Lankan Navy vessel that took place off Kudiramalai Point, Kalpitiya on the 25 March 2006. It is still too early to establish exactly the details of the attack and the SLMM is currently conducting inquiries.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have denied any involvement. However, based on SLMM’s previous experience during the period of the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) we feel that we cannot at this stage rule out their involvement. The SLMM would like to urge the LTTE to extend their full cooperation to both the Sri Lankan Government and the SLMM on this matter in the hope that we can establish how this attack came about and how such incidents can be avoided in the future.

There has been a dangerous escalation of violence taking place over the last couple of weeks. This trend is extremely worrying as the Parties prepare themselves to meet in Geneva for a second round of talks in four weeks time.

Several serious incidents took place in Trincomalee Bay during the last week resulting in exchange of fire between the Sri Lankan Navy and the LTTE. The SLMM would like to stress that both sides have shown lack of commitment and their actions have been provocative and not in line with the spirit of the CFA.

The Sri Lankan Army has recently dismissed claims that armed groups are operating in Government controlled areas. However, based on SLMM’s monitoring activities and experience on the ground the Mission does not share the this view and we would like to urge the Government of Sri Lanka to take this matter seriously and not close their eyes to armed elements that are to our knowledge still operating in Government controlled areas.

Finally the SLMM would like to urge both Parties to refrain from provocative acts and live up to the pledges they made in Geneva by showing their true commitment to the CFA. If the Parties do not take responsibility we fear that the situation could become gradually worse resulting in an escalation beyond what we had in December and January.


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