SL Army, LTTE blamed for killing spree

The truce monitors say that the killings amount to a gross violation of the truce pact, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Aug 30, 2006 21:33 IST

The Nordic truce monitors on Wednesday blamed the Sri Lankan army for the execution-style killing of 17 aid workers in Mutur in Trincomalee district on August 4, and the LTTE for the killing of more than 50 bus passengers in Kebithigollewa in Polonnaruwa district on June 15.

On the killing of the young aid workers (16 Tamils and one Muslim) belonging to the French agency "Action Against Hunger" the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) said that there were two reasons for concluding that the Sri Lankan security forces had done the deed.

Firstly, the forces were in occupation of Mutur at the time of incident and it appeared "highly unlikely" that other groups could have done it.

Secondly, the security forces had prevented SLMM from getting to the place where the incident occurred.

"The Head of SLMM has also had confidential conversations with highly reliable sources regarding the party who most likely has been responsible for the act. The views have not proved contradictory and the Security Forces of Sri Lanka are widely and consistently deemed to be responsible for the incident," a press release from the SLMM said.

Declaring the incident as a "gross violation" of the Ceasefire Agreement, the SLMM said that the incident had proved to be "one of the most serious crimes against humanitarian aid workers world wide and has been strongly condemned internationally."

LTTE blamed for bus passenger massacre

It was "highly probable" that the LTTE had carried out the claymore mine attack on the passenger bus in Kebetigollewa, the SLMM said.

Kebithigollewa is in a Sinhala dominated area.

The attack, the monitors said, was a "deliberate retaliation" for the killing of civilians and LTTE cadres in LTTE-controlled areas in the North and East, the SLMM said

The LTTE was the "only element with a motive, capability and capacity to carry out the attack," the monitors said, adding that it should "bear the responsibility" for killing the bus passengers.

Army staged claymore mine attacks in LTTE-controlled areas

On the claymore mine attacks in the LTTE-controlled areas between April 1 and June 15, the SLMM said that these had been carried out by Sri Lanka 's Special Forces.

These were "deliberate, planned and offensive military operations" by Sri Lankan army units, the monitors said.

Two Sri Lankan Army soldiers were killed by the LTTE in an exchange of fire and their bodies were handed over to the government by the ICRC.

There were "firm indications" of the Sri Lankan Army's involvement in these attacks, the monitors said.

Some of these attacks were carried out by armed elements "with substantial assistance and support from the government of Sri Lanka Security Forces," they added.

First Published: Aug 30, 2006 15:56 IST