Bombed site ‘not military installation’ - SLMM
[TamilNet, Monday, 14 August 2006, 16:15 GMT]
International ceasefire monitors who visited the site of the Sri Lankan airstrike Monday which killed 61 school girls and wounded 129 said they couldn’t find “any evidence of military installations or weapons.” Head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), Ulf Henricsson, said monitors who visited Chencholai Valaham after the airstrike said they found at least 10 bomb craters and an unexploded bomb. “It was not a military installation, we can see [that],” Mr. Henricsson told Sri Lanka’s MTV television.
Mr. Henricsson said his staff visited Chencholai Valaham at 11 a.m. Monday. They examined the site and spoke to eyewitnesses who described the raid by four jets.
He said his staff had not finished counting the dead, but said the official count of 61 killed seemed “fairly correct.”
“We couldn’t find any sign of military installations or weapons,” Mr. Henricsson said. “This was not a military installation, we can see.”
But the Sri Lankan government’s official spokesman, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, insisted the bombed site was a Tamil Tiger training camp.
“We have complete proof,” he said.
“We will show it to the relevant authorities,” Minister Rambukwella said, without elaborating.
He said the accusations that innocent schoolgirls had been killed “was purely a propaganda exercise [by the LTTE] to counter their defeats in the North and East.”
He repeated that the government would show “print proof” to “any person or organisation” But he did not elaborate what the proof was.
Meanwhile some media in Colombo began reporting that schools would be closed indefinitely from 4 p.m. Monday onwards. The reports quoted government announcements, but no official statement has been distributed yet.