SLMM finds it hard to trust Tigers
The truce monitors have said LTTE's indifference to recent attacks is a cause of concern, reports PK Balachandran.Updated: Jan 21, 2006 11:46 IST
The Scandinavian-staffed Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) has said that it cannot accept the LTTE's contention that the recent attacks on the Sri Lankan security forces have been done by "the people" and not by its cadres.
"Various actors in the international community have blamed the LTTE for attacking government troops but the LTTE has continuously denied any involvement. The LTTE claims that 'the People' are behind the attacks on the military. SLMM finds this explanation unacceptable," a statement from the monitors said on Friday.
"It is safe to say that LTTE involvement cannot be ruled out and we find the LTTE's indifference to these attacks worrying," it said.
"SLMM strongly condemns the latest attack on Sri Lanka navy soldiers in Cheddikulam on the 12th of January. Our sympathy goes to the families that have been affected by this brutal murder. This attack is yet another serious blow to the Ceasefire Agreement and SLMM believes that if such attacks or retaliation of such attacks continue, the Ceasefire Agreement will be over," it warned.
"Over 100 people were killed last month half of which were civilians. Killings and serious attacks continue and the situation is getting worse. It is our assessment that if the Parties don't react immediately they risk going back to war," the statement said.
Plea to government
The SLMM then went on to advice the Sri Lankan government also to implement the ceasefire agreement in both letter and spirit, by restraining the Tamil paramilitary forces and also preventing the harassment of civilians by the security forces.
"It is however clear that people are suffering and unfortunately there have been several reports of civilian harassment by the security forces in relation to increased security measures.
The harassment often takes a form of harsh treatment of the Tamil population in relation to the attacks. We would like to urge the Government of Sri Lanka and the Security Forces to prevent such actions from taking place."
"It is important to emphasise that the current situation also stems from the fact that alternative armed elements have been able to operate freely in the East in Government controlled areas. These forces have destabilised the ceasefire and are one of the major reasons for increased tension between the Parties."
"We therefore urge the Government of Sri Lanka to face up to its responsibility to disarm these other armed groups so that the rule of law can be reinstated in the affected areas,"
"Increasing number of civilians is being caught in the middle leading to major disturbances in the local communities. The conflict between the two sides is hurting civilians and preventing any restoration to normalcy."
"We urge both Parties to consider carefully how they can mend the situation instead of merely blaming each other and pointing fingers. The parties need to come up with firm confidence building measures with the truthful aim of reaching a peaceful solution."
"Actions speak louder than words and we feel that we need to see more commitment from the two Parties if war is not to break out in Sri Lanka," the truce monitors said.
First Published: Jan 13, 2006 17:07 IST