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SL slams truce monitors' report on killings

The Lankan Govt says the army has been blamed without any factual evidence, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Aug 31, 2006 19:57 IST

The Sri Lankan government on Wednesday slammed the Nordic truce monitors' report on the killing of 17 aid workers in Mutur in Trincomalee district on August 4, saying that army had been blamed without any factual evidence to substantiate it.

A statement issued by the Information Department said the Scandinavian-staffed Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) had been "irresponsible and unprofessional" and that its conclusions were "speculative".

Sixteen Tamil youths and one Muslim youth, who were working for the French NGO "Action Against Hunger" in Mutur were killed in "execution style" during the military operations there.

The SLMM blamed the armed forces for it on the grounds that the town was under their occupation at that time.

But the government contended that the SLMM's determination lacked "factual evidence".

The SLMM had come to conclusions even before the forensic investigations had been completed, it was pointed out.

The government said that it was not true that the SLMM and others were not allowed to enter Mutur.

There was only a travel advisory against going to Mutur when military operations were on in the area.

"Immediately after securing the town, journalists, humanitarian workers and community leaders travelled to Mutur without any restrictions," the government pointed out.

At any rate, the inability to travel to Mutur could not be sufficient evidence of the culpability of the armed forces in the deaths of the 17 aid workers, the government asserted.

It charged that the SLMM had not done diligent investigations and had rushed to hasty conclusions.

The government pointed out that this might be the first time that the SLMM had given its determination first and then asked for investigations to establish the facts!

First Published: Aug 30, 2006 15:56 IST