Another foreign aid worker shot dead

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 13 September 2006, 20:44 GMT]
A relief worker for the Seattle-based non-profit group World Concern has been killed in the Trincomalee district, where six weeks ago 17 aid workers were shot dead execution-style by Sri Lankan forces, reports said Tuesday. Ragunathan Ramalingam, a Tamil, was shot Monday while returning to the World Concern office on a motorcycle.

The motive for the killing is not clear, said Rhonda Manville, a spokeswoman for World Concern.

World Concern has staff members in Sri Lanka to aid with relief in the wake of the 2004 tsunami and to provide emergency services to those displaced by escalating civil conflicts.

Ragunathan had been with World Concern since 2005. He was returning from having lunch with his wife and five children, one of whom was born six days ago when he was killed.

His killing comes a month after the execution style killings of 16 Tamil and one Muslim staff of international aid agency Action Contre La Faim, which international truce monitors have blamed on the Sri Lankan security forces.

In a damning report published Wednesday August 31, the head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), Swedish Maj. Gen. Ulf Henricson said the SLMM was “convinced that there cannot be any other armed groups than the Security Forces who could actually have been behind the act.”

The Sri Lankan government reacted with indignation, rejecting the findings and launching a blistering personal attack on Gen. Henriccson.

Sri Lankan authorities have also begun harassing their staff in the aftermath of the SLMM’s findings enforcing new controls on foreign aid workers, AFP reported quoting senior aid workers.

A spokesman for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) told AFP about 500 foreign nationals working for about 90 charities had already applied for work permits but were still awaiting them.

The sentiment was echoed by World Concern this week.

Asked about conditions in Sri Lanka, spokeswoman Maniville admitted: "it has been a rough place to work lately."

In January seven Tamil aid workers working for Tamil Rehabiliation Organisation were abducted by suspected Army-backed paramilitaries in the island’s Batticaloa district.

 

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