SLMM blames Sri Lanka military for aid workers’ massacre

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 30 August 2006, 11:15 GMT]
International ceasefire monitors Wednesday blamed the Sri Lankan military for the massacre of 17 local aid workers from international group Action Contre La Faim earlier this month, Reuters reported, quoting Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM). Outgoing SLMM head Ulf Henricsson, called the killings a "committed act of assassination" and "one of the most serious recent crimes against humanitarian aid workers worldwide," AP reported.

“SLMM is, with the obtained findings, convinced that there cannot be any other armed groups than the Security Forces who could actually have been behind [this] act,” the SLMM said.

The finding is based on its investigation and interviews with other parties and the international community, the SLMM said.

Outgoing SLMM head Ulf Henricsson, called the killings a "committed act of assassination" and "one of the most serious recent crimes against humanitarian aid workers worldwide."

The SLMM also ruled that a June claymore mine attack on a civilian bus that killed almost 70 was a breach of the ceasefire by Tamil Tigers, while blaming the government for a string of similar attacks in LTTE-held areas from April onwards.

15 of the ACF staff had been found dead on the floor of their ruined office, while two had been gunned down while apparently trying to escape in a car. In the office, the bodies, clad in ACF T-shirts, had bullet wounds and most of them lay face down.

All except one, a Muslim, were Tamils.

The SLMM ruled the execution-style killings of the aid workers in Muttur a breach of the Ceasefire Agreement.

Earlier, the SLMM charged that the Sri Lankan authorities are deliberately hampering efforts to investigate the murder of 17 aid workers, some of whose relatives also blamed the military for the killings.

“I have experienced this in the Balkans before. When you're not let in, it's a sign that there's something they want to hide,” Henricsson told Reuters two weeks ago.

“You have a lot of time to clear it up. If there was clear evidence for the LTTE to have done it, why not let us in to see it?” Henricsson said amid accusations by the Sri Lankan government the Tamil Tigers carried out the massacre.

“They (government forces) are denying us access to the whole area, so we cannot monitor. There were journalist trips arranged to Mutur. That was possible, but we had no access. Why? For security reasons? Of course not. There are other reasons.”

The SLMM report Wednesday backed up accusations by parents of some of the murdered aid workers who blamed Sri Lankan troops who recaptured Muttur town from the LTTE in early August for the killings.


External Links:
BBC: Monitors' statement on Sri Lanka killings


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