workers remembered in Colombo
(inset) Funerals of the
By Amantha Perera
week during which over 80 combatants died
in the fighting the lime- light was more
on Colombo, initially due to the murders
of the two ICRC workers and then the mass
expulsion of Tamils staying in lodges in
and around Colombo.
weekend saw some of the worst fighting
reported in the volatile
areas north west of Vavuniya. The
area has been a hive of activity with the
army trying to breach into Tiger held
areas according to truce monitors. Last
week's episode proved that the troops had
been operating in areas at least 10 km
ahead of the forward defence lines. Heavy
fighting had been reported in the area
since mid-March and once again it
June 2 night artillery points used by the
army at Pampaimadhu, north of Vavuniya
came under Tiger artillery attack around 8
p.m. The area has been used as an
artillery point by the army for sometime
Tigers said that the existence of the gun
position had been raised with the SLMM
sometime ago and they had sought
action to remove the point. "It is
the no man's area and we have been asking
it to be removed," Tiger military
spokesperson Rasiah Ilanthirayan said.
military said that the Tigers had
initiated the attack and also tried to
breach the line with a ground attack -
"during the LTTE artillery and mortar
fire they also attempted to infiltrate the
FDLs which were successfully
repulsed," the Media Center for
National Security said.
Ilanthirayan denied that there was any
attempt to breach the line, "it was
just artillery and mortar fire."
Tigers had fired 130 mm
artillery and mortars at the base.
ground attack however took place further
north of Pampaimadhu, at Mullikulam and
Vilathikulam north west of Vavuniya. Both
sides agreed that fierce ground battles
took place in the area.
started around 8 p.m and went on till the
next day, the army was moving in two lines
on a westerly route and our cadres cut
them off," Ilanthirayan said.
successfully repulsed and counter
attacked inflicting heavy damage to the
Tigers. In the retaliatory attack, 52
terrorists were killed and large numbers
were wounded. The terrorists who fled in
the face of the army retaliatory attack
had abandoned a haul of arms and
ammunition," the MCNS said.
Tigers said that
30 soldiers had been killed in the
attack and in fact tried to hand over 13
bodies through the ICRC. The army accepted
two and the remaining 11 were cremated by
military denied the high casualty figure
quoted by the Tigers and said that only 13
soldiers had died. The area came under heavy air attacks in the ensuing four
days after the attack.
jets also bombed Tiger artillery positions
at Puliyankulam, north of Omanthai close
to the A9 highway and at Palampiddi close
to Madhu. The Palampiddi mortar positions
were again bombed on June 4 morning as
well. The Defence Ministry said that Tiger
gun positions were bombed.
area calmed considerably after the battles
over the weekend, but the trouble in
Colombo meant it went quite
murders add to Government's worries
stood in front of the Fort Railway
Station, in the afternoon heat. Some
in sunshades and under the cover of
umbrellas, others their mouths shut
tight with black bands. Locals,
foreigners and some from the UN staff
were among the protestors who gathered
at the Fort Railway Station to protest
tragedy to hit humanitarian
workers - the murders of Sinnarasa
Shanmugalingam (32) and Karthikesu
Chandramohan (26) the two Sri Lanka
Red Cross volunteers whose bodies were
found in Kiriella, Ratnapura 100 km
have so far been unable to make any
breakthrough on the investigations,
despite the personal interest shown by
President Mahinda Rajapakse. He visited
Jayaratne funeral parlour on Monday
afternoon to pay his respects and the day
after met with officials of the SLRC and
ICRC. He has ordered a full probe and told
IGP Victor Perera to hand in a report
within two weeks.
the lacklustre investigation into the last
murders of 17 local aid workers
with the French agency
Action Contre le Faim
has forced international agencies
including the UN to call for actions that
matches the rhetoric.
is another outrageous act in an apparent
trend of deliberate targeting of aid
workers, which severely jeopardises and
impedes their ability to deliver
humanitarian assistance in a secure
environment. We note the government's
public commitment to investigate these
killings, but urge this process be
expedited, with international assistance,
as appropriate. We remain concerned that
the killings of humanitarian workers,
including the 17 workers of Action Contre
le Faim, in August 2006, remain unsolved.
urge the government, the LTTE and other
armed groups to take all measures to
protect aid workers and provide a secure
and conducive environment to the
functioning of humanitarian
assistance," Special Representative
of the UN Secretary-General on the
situation of human rights defenders, Hina
Jilani, and the Special Rapporteur on
extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary
executions, Philip Alston said last week.
And international pressure is likely to
mount unless police investigation makes a
a week after the murders, the police have
been unable to say anything but that the
vehicle numbers provided by those who were
with the two victims were false. "We
have not heard anything," SLRC Head
Neville Nanayakkara told The Sunday
and Chandramohan have been with the
Red Cross for over five years and recently
were involved in the resettlement of the
IDPs, according to senior military sources
reports said that the Karuna group was
suspected of the murders, however
K. Mahesh of the TMVP office in
Colombo said that one of the victims
Chandramohan was a relative but not
a supporter of the faction.
murders have without doubt put the
government in a yet another bind.
They have brought the focus back to
the dangers faced by relief workers in Sri
Lanka. "The circumstances in which
these men were abducted and killed demand
a thorough investigation by the police.
The IASC is deeply concerned about the
security of all aid workers in Sri Lanka.
It is just 10 months since the killing of
17 workers from Action Contre le Faim.
These latest killings are an ominous sign
of an evolving situation," ISAC made
up of UN and other relief agencies said.
ACF investigation has been slow to
progress. A recent report by the
International Commission of Jurists found
inherent flaws in the investigations. The
government dismissed the report and said
that it would only accept the
determination of the Special Presidential
Commission and the International Persons
Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also weighed
in and called for an immediate
investigation, once again referring to the
ACF murders have caused a great deal of
controversy. The 17 local aid workers were
murdered between August 4 and 5. According
to the SLMM, the finger has been pointed
at the armed forces who were in control of
Muttur at the time of the murders. The
government has rejected the claim.
state under which the ACF workers were
gunned down has been clouded in mystery.
It was a delegation of Consortium of
Humanitarian Agencies that was in Muttur
on August 6 that stumbled across the
bodies at the ACF office. "On
approaching the office we came across this
gruesome sight with a very strong stench.
The bodies were all face downwards on the
front lawn seemingly lined up and shot at
very close range. The sight was too
much to handle," the CHA report said.
SLRC murders have now opened the whole can
of worms, and with the ACF investigation
moving at snail's pace, international
pressure will most certainly mount.
"We will not let this go,"
The government will have to prove
that its public avowals of defending human
rights can be matched with action.
bodies have a role to play
Defence Ministry website last week carried
an interesting story on how bodies of dead
combatants play a role in the propaganda
war. The story came out two days after the
government only accepted two of the 13
bodies handed over by the Tigers through
of the piece are given below.
sources have recently revealed, how the
LTTE leadership denied the final rights to
one of its senior most cadres, Sinnathambi
Kanapathipille Shivamoorthi alias
"Colonel Nagulan." Self styled
colonel Nagulan was killed along with six
other LTTE cadres by the army at Eravur in
Batticaloa on May 23. Self styled major
Maniwannan Master, the LTTE's intelligence
coordinator for Batticaloa; and LTTE
female cadre Mala, a senior member of
LTTE's Sothiya band were also killed in
the same confrontation.
was the leader of the LTTE's 'Charles
Anthony' band and known to be one of the
most battle hardened members of the LTTE.
A senior defence official speaking
exclusively to defence.lk said, that
Nagulan had taken over the Charles Anthony
band in the year 2006. The band is one of
the LTTE's oldest fighting units named
after the son of terror chief V.
Pirapaharan. Nagulan was appointed as the
leader of the band after the death of
Weeramani who died in an accidental
explosion at Nagarkovil, the official
LTTE identity card found with the body and
a video of Nagulan speaking at an LTTE
camp were also provided as
was an exception from other Wanni LTTE
leaders. He used to lead from the front
and his loss will certainly have an
adverse effect on the terror outfit"
the official said.
bodies were later handed over to the LTTE
through the ICRC. One female body was
identified by the parents as of their
young daughter abducted by the LTTE, and
taken to their residence at Batticaloa.
The other six were taken to Thoppigala by
the ICRC," the official further said.
to the sources, Nagulan along with other
senior LTTE cadres were buried in a mass
grave without any funeral honours. Not a
word was published on any of the Pro LTTE
websites on Nagulan's death.
early April 2007, the LTTE played a
similar drama in Wanni by giving an enemy
burial for over 50 of its own cadres. The
LTTE cadres who were killed in action
during the end of March and early April in
north of Mannar were buried in a mass
grave as 'army' soldiers, before a large
gathering of junior LTTE cadres. An ICRC
official who had also seen the bodies
reported to army that he saw over 50
mutilated bodies clad with army overalls
being piled up at an LTTE camp. The LTTE
heads in the area had refused to hand over
the bodies except one to the ICRC, though
they had claimed that the bodies belonged
to army. Upon receipt of the body army
officials identified the body as one of
the soldiers who had gone
missing after the battle. However,
the military proved with its records that
the bodies buried by the LTTE did not
belong to any of the army soldiers."