Sunday, June 11, 2006

Top LTTE commander responsible for mine attacks killed in explosion

A top Tiger guerrilla commander responsible for claymore attacks against the Naval Forces in Manna is killed in a claymore mine explosion in the LTTE controlled areas in Mannar.

Mahenthi, Lt Colonel in the LTTE’s rank and three others were killed when their vehicle was caught in clay more mine in Vellankulam- Thunnukkai road this morning.

Mahenthi was believed to have spearheaded the claymore mine attacks against naval convoys since the November last year.

Military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe denied any security force involvement in the explosion, which took place deep inside uncleared areas in Mannar.


Vankalai massacre avenged....LTTE leader in Mannar has been assassinated

Pro LTTE media says that the big terrorist in Mannar area, named Mahenthi along with three more LTTE terrorists have been killed in a claymore mine attack, somewhere on Vellankulam - Thunukkai Road on Saturday morning (10th). The reports further make the usual allegation that Sri Lanka Army "DPU" was responsible for this attack along with many other attacks carried out, deep in the LTTE dominated area. It is apparent that Army "DPU" has almost captured Kilinochchi!!!!

Meanwhile the civilian sources revealed that this assassination was done by an advisory of LTTE to avenge the brutal massacre in VANKALAI on 08th June. It was reported earlier that Mr. Moorthy Martin the head of the family killed in Vankalai was suspected by LTTE for having connections with one of their adversary group which had set a Claymore mine targeting Mahenthi on 08th June at PERIYAMADU in LTTE dominated area.

Hoverer, Mr. Mahenthi had narrowly escaped from the claymore mine attack, but the whole family of Mr. Moorthi was assassinated in the most barbaric manner, to ensure that no adversary party would ever think of threatening Mr. Mahenthi's life.

But the affect of LTTE's barbarism seemed to yield unexpected results; Mr Mahenthi and his friends could only save their lives for two days after the brutal crime, even in their safe heaven in Wanni.

Meanwhile, all Pro LTTE media elements are all-out in accusing the Army "DPU" for all the misfortunes of their parent organization. One of their reports has gone to en extent that it charges the imaginary "DPU" for a claymore attack in Nadunkerni, at the door step of Mulativu. No wonder if these intelligent media units go on accusing this "DPU" even when their leader gets a mosquito bite at his hiding place.

It is still doubtful whether these media men by themselves, believe the story of "DPU" issue or they simply cannot accept the truth of the existence of adversary elements to LTTE.

Has everyone suddenly forgotten the existence of Karuna factor?

The quest for International sympathy....The "Sole Representative's Tamil blood thirst" satisfied at Vankalai?

The LTTE's big brain has done it again. The same drama LTTE enacted at Manthivu, Jafffna and followed by a more bloody version at Allaipiddy, Kayts has now been enacted in the most bloodiest and treacherous manner at Vankalai, last night (8th). Four members of innocent Tamil family were brutally assassinated in the barbaric fashion only practiced by the LTTE terrorists. The four victims include two small children of age 7 and 9, and their parents.

The terrorists have hacked them, shot them and later they were hanged to give a lesson to other villages, of the consequences of disobeying the "sole representative". More evidence can be found in the LTTE's own web site which sells own blood to the cheapest price.

It has been reveled that the LTTE had identified the father(Mr SINNAIYAH MOORTHI MARTIN of 38) of the family as an informant of their adversary group and alleged him for involving in the recent claymore mine attack in Periyamadu in Mannar (in the LTTE dominated area) where a senior LTTE cadre had narrowly escaped. Further, The LTTE cadres had reportedly made several threats to the father (Mr:SINNAIYAH MOORTHI MARTIN) accusing him to having cordial relationships with the security forces.

However, Sri Lanka Army has vehemently denied the abominable effort of LTTE to make security forces responsible for the killings. The Army media spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinhe told media that the security forces had no involvement in the killings and explained the hidden motives of LTTE by carrying out such brutal killings of innocent Tamil civilians. LTTE is desperately looking for the international sympathy towards the organization by tarnishing the image of the security forces. The Army will never do such barbaric crimes, he added.

Meanwhile, the Defence Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told media that the recent pattern of behavior of LTTE has a direct bearing towards the crime. The security forces have no valid reason to get involved in such brutal crime. It is the LTTE who gets the advantage, if succeed in their propaganda accusing the government forces. However, Minister Rambukwella elaborated the necessity of conducting proper investigation to the incident, saying that he would not directly accuse LTTE for the crime until more sound evidence obtained.

The rising international pressure and continuous loss of civilian support and emerging of adversary parties seemed to push the LTTE leadership to a limit that he has begun to unleash his violence towards the Tamil community as well. Now, it is not the Sinhalese or Muslims that have the greatest threat from this maniacal organization but the Tamils themselves. Save the Tamils from the "Sole Representative".


The SLMM report that shocked the Govt.

ollowing is the text of the latest SLMM report which shocked the government and prompted an angry response from it.

Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) Implementation of the Agreements Reached Between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers at the Geneva Talks the 22-23 February 2006

1. Preamble

The Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) met in Geneva 22-23 February 2006 for talks on the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA). The GOSL and the LTTE committed themselves to respect and uphold the CFA and reconfirmed their commitment to fully cooperate with and respect the rulings of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM). The GOSL and the LTTE also pledged to take all necessary measures to ensure that there will be no intimidation, acts of violence, abductions or killings.

The LTTE committed themselves to take all necessary measures to ensure that there will be no acts of violence against the security forces and police. The GOSL on the other hand committed itself to take all necessary measures in accordance with the CFA to ensure that no armed group or person other than Government security forces will carry arms or conduct armed operations in GOSL controlled areas. GOSL and LTTE discussed all issues concerning the welfare of children in the North East, including the recruitment of children.

It was agreed that SLMM will report on implementation of the above agreements at the next session of talks in Geneva on 19-21 April 2006.

This report is an assessment based on information collected by SLMM Monitors, including information on alleged and confirmed violations of the CFA and the Parties compliance to SLMM determinations with special attention to the defined period 24 February - 28 May 2006.

A significant increase of complaints lodged by the Parties was noted following the decision that SLMM would present a report at the next round of talks. However, it should be mentioned that it has been somewhat difficult for SLMM to inquire into what comes across as being rather vague and general accusations with only few concrete facts. SLMM has not yet been able to determine all complaints recorded during the period as more time is needed to finalize the inquiries in a professional manner and to allow respective Parties to respond to the allegations. As such, this report will analyze the situation in a broader perspective and recommend measures which could strengthen the implementation of the CFA.

2. GOSL and LTTE overall commitment to the CFA

The period started with a positive atmosphere and steps were taken to further normalize the situation. The presence of soldiers in town centers and the amount of checkpoint decreased and the population living in the North and Northeast became much more hopeful for the future.

Attempts were made to restart LTTE political activities in GOSL controlled areas but too much distrust prevailed between the Parties and so the GOSL was not willing to provide unlimited access to LTTE political cadres as they feared that they would engage in clandestine activities. LTTE also pushed for a resumption of organized transport of LTTE cadres through GOSL controlled areas including LTTE sea movements.

SLMM made several attempts to facilitate a meeting in Kilinochchi between local LTTE leaders, a prerequisite set by LTTE to ensure their participation in the Geneva II talks. However, neither GOSL nor LTTE could reach an agreement on the transportation. The transportation issue has now reached a complete deadlock, thus postponing the Geneva II talks.

Although the level of violence decreased drastically after the decision was taken to resume high-level talks, the situation became very tense again following the assassination of the Trincomalee District President of Tamil Peoples Forum on April 7, 2006. The killing triggered a resumption of attacks against the GOSL forces, which began with hand grenade and claymore mine attacks, notably in the East. However, this soon escalated into more high profile attacks such as the suicide attack against Commander of the Army Lt. Gen Fonseka on 25 April, and the Sea Tiger attack on a SLN Dvora on 11 May to mention but a few. GOSL showed restraint to begin with, but as the seriousness of the incidents increased, so did GOSL's response, which led to additional violence and suffering of the civilian population.

As a result of the recent escalation in violence the CFA has been put under heavy pressure and the parties' lack of commitment is to be considered highly critical.
Security forces cordoning off Army Headquarters after the attack on the Army Chief in April

3 Intimidation, acts of violence, abductions and killings by GOSL and LTTE

The level of intimidation and harassment of civilians increased with the resumption of attacks against the security forces, forcing people to seek shelter in schools, churches and temples. These places of shelter have lately become a target as well, notably in Trincomalee where the tension between civilian Tamils and Sinhalese is particularly high following a bomb explosion in a market frequented mostly by Sinhalese. The following riots killed at least 20, mostly Tamils.

The fishing restrictions enforced by the GOSL continued to impose a serious problem for the fisherman in the North and Northeast. GOSL initially relaxed some of the limitations but later imposed additional restriction as force protection measures.

Mr. Vigneswaran, the District President of Tamils People Forum in Trincomalee, was assassinated outside the bank where he worked on 7 April. The cold blooded killing of this prominent member of the Tamil society close to major police and defence installations raised serious doubts about GOSL capability to maintain law and order.

There had only been few attacks against the security forces or police during the initial six weeks after the Geneva Talks. However following the abovementioned killing the attacks resumed again on April 8, 2006 when a claymore mine targeted an Army truck in Jaffna. This attack was followed by a series of mine and bomb attacks mostly targeted at the SLA and SLN. The security forces and police were attacked more than 141 times in the past seven weeks resulting in at least 88 serviceman killed in action. The number of attacks, the tactics used, the target and the geographic dimension pointed out the LTTE as the most likely perpetrator. It does however not rule out that some attacks might have been executed by some other actors or that they could be cover operations. The attacks were a very serious violation of the CFA.

LTTE forward defence localities or convoys in the East were attacked a number of times throughout the period resulting in the death of at least 19 LTTE cadres. Mid-April, five claymore mine attacks in LTTE controlled Vanni killed five civilians and two LTTE cadres. There was also extended exchange of fire between SLA and LTTE across the zone of separation on several occasions.

At least 223 civilians were killed during the reporting period: In Jaffna more than 43 civilian were assassinated since April 10 in a virtual campaign of targeted killings. On several occasions these killings took place within close vicinity of permanent SF presence. Yet, they denied witnessing any of these killings. The killings followed a pattern where gunmen approached the victim at his house, called him out and shot him. In May two grave incidents demonstrated a new development where gunmen target groups of civilians instead of individuals.

On May 2, a group of gunmen entered a newspaper office, shot dead the marketing manager and injured two others by shooting randomly at the employees. On May 13, three gunmen entered a private house and shot dead 8 civilians, including two children.

The fighting between, LTTE and the Karuna faction in the Batticaloa District lead to at least 25 civilian casualties, of which some were most likely Karuna cadres. On April 30, a Karuna camp in Batticaloa district came under attack by LTTE. According to LTTE, 20 Karuna cadres were killed and several injured. Ten wounded Karuna Cadres were brought to a Governmental Hospital, but SLMM were denied access to them by GOSL. Furthermore tension in Vavuniya, partly believed to have been related to extortion and armed groups, killed at least 21 civilians. Even though it is difficult to verify, it is likely that many of the civilians killed were actually members or supporters of either the LTTE or an armed group, thus directly related to the conflict.

On April 23, a suicide bomber exploded herself in the very near vicinity of the commander of the Sri Lanka Army Lt. Gen Fonseka. The explosion took place within the army headquarters in Colombo. Nine persons were killed and 27 wounded in this attack. The incident clearly bears the hallmark of LTTE.

In retaliation, Sri Lanka Armed forces on April 25 and 26 attacked the LTTE-controlled area of Sampur and Ilakkantai, by using air and artillery capabilities to strike military and political targets of the LTTE.

Approximately 15 civilians were killed in these actions. The number of LTTE cadres killed in these strikes is unknown as LTTE has not revealed these findings to SLMM.

4 Presence and activities of armed groups

Continued attacks on LTTE forward defence localities throughout the period showed that one or more armed groups were actively engaged in offensive operations against the LTTE. SLMM were able to verify three attacks in which the perpetrators either came from or fled to GOSL-controlled areas; the attack on the LTTE checkpoint in Vavunathivu on March 2, the attack on the LTTE checkpoint in Poonagar, Mahindapura on March 23 and the attack on the LTTE post in Panichchankerni on April 6.

The continued high number of assassination of civilians, including LTTE supporters, in the East, as well as numerous reports of harassment of civilians strongly indicated that armed groups operate in that area.

SLMM received a large number of complaints relating to assassinations. Harassments, extortions, assaults or abductions where an armed group is the main suspect. Sighting of armed civilians claiming to represent Karuna is often reported to SLMM and on March 28 SLMM monitors encountered 10-15 armed men in civilian clothes operating in Valaichchenai, telling SLMM that they belong to the Karuna faction. SLMM District Office in Batticaloa has also been contacted by individuals claming to be Karuna members.

The only clearly identified armed group is the Karuna faction and their political front TMVP who, contrary to the GOSL commitment, became even more visible in GOSL controlled areas in the East in March. SLMM has been in direct contact with Karuna supportes and TMVP members and their presence and activities are often confirmed by GOSL officials. SLMM was even advised by Ministry of Defence to avoid movements in certain parts of GOSL-controlled areas north of Batticaloa due to security reasons.

There are a number of indications that the GOSL is actively supporting the Karuna group. Known Karuna supporters have been seen moving to and from SLA camps, and it is evident that the security forces and police in some areas are not taking action to prevent armed elements from operating.

There were also strong indications that armed groups started operating in and around Vavuniya. A number of civilians, mainly Tamil businessmen, have been killed during the last months and it is believed that the main reason behind these killings is an attempt by an armed group to disturb LTTE activities in Vavuniya and strengthen their own position. SLMM inquiries on incidents of armed violence against civilians in Vavuniya strongly indicate that SLA and Army Intelligence are supporting the armed groups in Vavuniya district.

SLMM has not been able to confirm the LTTE allegations that armed groups opposed to LTTE are operating in Jaffna nor the presence of an active Muslim armed group. Neither can the LTTE claim, that independent armed groups such as the "Peoples Force" opposing GOSL have been behind attacks on the Security Forces, be verified.

5 Child recruitment

Child recruitment and child abduction increased significantly during March and April after it had been at a fairly low level since September last year. The actual number is likely to be much higher as many parents are unwilling to lodge a complaint due to fear of retaliation.

While it is evident that LTTE was behind most of the child recruiting as confirmed by several of the victims and the LTTE, there were also indications that armed groups such as the Karunas were abducting children. The reasons might be a perceived need to increase the strength of the fighting formations as the conflict escalates. In the East the struggle between the LTTE and the Karuna faction might also lead to increased child recruitment as they are both competing for the same group of potential new cadres.

SLMM is aware that some underage children freely volunteer or leave their families due to economic reasons to join LTTE. Nevertheless it still against international law to accept them for training or use them for military purposes.

6. Other violations of the CFA

Both Parties are reinforcing their forward defence localities following several incidents of crossfire exchange between the parties, notably in Jaffna and in Vavunathivu, Batticaloa. In Vavunathivu tenision seems to escalate following the killing of a high ranking LTTE leader in the Zone of Separation on May 21. LTTE had temporarily stopped building 250 metre-long and two-metre high rampart, but resumed the construction work following the killing.

Furthermore they have constructed new positions along their forward defence localities beside the A9 highway at Omanthai crossing point even though it is a clear violation of the CFA.

The situation along the LTTE-controlled coastline in Trincomalee Bay was tense, mainly due to the fact that there is no zone of separation along the coastlines. Armed LTTE cadres moving and practising shooting near the beach alerted the Sri Lankan Navy units deployed on the outlying islands and at sea. When SLN approached the shore, LTTE Sea Tiger boats had been deployed, which further raised the tension and led to exchange of fire between SLN and LTTE. SLMM assisted to defuse the situation by negotiating an agreement whereby the Parties would inform about any weapons practice in advance.

LTTE Sea Tiger vessels manoeuvred far off the coast in Mullaitivu for several days in April. They continued to provoke the Sri Lankan Navy ships in the area by approaching in fighting positions and firing with their weapons towards the SLN. This was a clear intentional violation of the CFA, which culminated on May 11, 2006 when LTTE attacked four SLN Fast Attack Craft in the north-eastern waters, between Nagarkovil and Chalai .One SLN craft was sunk by an LTTE suicide boat and 17 SLN sailors died.

It is assessed that this engagement was a show of force that LTTE has a naval force to be reckoned with, and that they 'control' the waters outside their coast.

7. GOSL and LTTE cooperation with SLMM and compliance with SLMM rulings

The LTTE is still not providing full freedom of movement to the SLMM. On numerous occasions SLMM was hindered to approach the shores and suspected LTTE Sea Tiger bases. Although the situation improved slightly, it remains a problem, especially in areas where SLMM needs immediate access to inquire into alleged violations. Such restrictions make already difficult tasks even more challenging and add problems to SLMM's possibility to determine on alleged violations.

SLMM also faces problems when patrolling in GOSL area. Since SLMMs press release on April 29 regarding GOSL's involvement in extrajudicial killing, SLMM has on several occasions been denied access through checkpoints and exit/entry points. Security Forces on the ground claim that they act upon orders from Colombo.

The LTTE has been quicker to provide inquiry-related information requested by the SLMM since the last Geneva meeting. Yet, the situation is still not satisfactory. It has also been very difficult for SLMM monitors to get access to LTTE Sea Tigers and Military Wing leaders.

As for the GOSL, both security forces and police were restrictive when it came to SLMM inquiring into alleged activities by armed groups, especially in Vavuniya. It has also been very difficult for SLMM to inquire into the disappearance of four civilians following the attack on a Navy bus in Pesalai, Mannar the 23 December 2005. Sri Lankan Navy, who are accused of being behind the disappearance, has been completely unwilling to cooperate with SLMM to bring clarity to the case.

Both Parties were still very reluctant to comply with SLMM rulings and even though SLMM continuously pointed out, that for example a newly constructed position is a violation and needs to be removed, no action was taken by either party.

Prior to the Sea Tiger attack on May 11, LTTE forwarded three written warnings to SLMM, stating that SLMM should refrain from boarding SLN vessels and that LTTE disclaims all responsibility should an SLMM monitor be injured. SLMM perceived these warnings as mere threats, not be given into. However, SLMM was forced to cease all naval monitoring activities when Sea Tigers attacked an SLN craft with a naval monitor onboard on May 11.

8. Conclusive remarks

The violence has not decreased during the reporting period and serious violations of the CFA have been committed.

The GOSL's commitment to take all necessary measures in accordance with the CFA to ensure that no armed group or person other than Government security forces will carry arms or conduct armed operations in GOSL controlled areas has not been implemented. GOSL is responsible for maintaining law and order in all GOSL controlled areas and this includes preventing operations by criminal, paramilitary and other unofficial armed groups.

LTTE continued to recruit and abduct children to strengthen their fighting capacity. LTTE must follow the CFA and international law and stop this practice.

The Parties must fully cooperate with SLMM and allow access to high security zones and other restricted areas. The Parties also need to improve in regard to providing SLMM with the information required for inquiries and complying with SLMM rulings. LTTE's attempt to limit SLMM naval monitoring was a totally unacceptable move to limit SLMM's mandate.

A number of violations by the parties might have occurred due to lack of discipline and knowledge of the CFA, international law and human rights. Both sides should therefore provide more training on the above-mentioned subjects on all levels.

The Geneva meeting gave an opportunity to the Parties to move forward and improve the situation. The initial positive forward looking atmosphere was however quickly changed into reality as the GOSL remained unwilling to implement all of its commitments and instead denied even the mere presence of armed groups. In addition the GOSL showed little willingness to accept requests by the LTTE aimed at normalizing the situation. SLMM fears that the resumption of attacks against the GOSL security forces was the LTTE's way of putting pressure on the GOSL. The inability by the Parties to grasp this opportunity unfortunately led to 150 persons losing their lives and even more being injured or displaced in the violence that followed.

The parties must start looking at what measures they can take to strengthen the CFA and improve the situation instead of focusing on the faults done by their counterpart. Direct dialogue on all levels should be re-established as a first confidence building measures. SLMM also recommends that the Parties look closer to the Vienna Document, 1999 to find well proven confidence and security building measure which could be adapted to the situation in Sri Lanka.
Finally, it should be emphasized that there are two basic fundamentals which are necessary for a lasting peace and stability: A confident legal system and full democratic control of the armed forces. These basic fundamentals must be strengthened in Sri Lanka if the peace process shall be successful.

Ulf Henricsson
Head of Mission


Govt says report unfair, arbitrary

Following is the text of the government’s statement in response to the SLMM report.

The Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) expresses concern on the release of a document dated 4 June 2006, the Report of the SLMM, on the implementation of the Agreements reached between the GOSL and the LTTE at the Geneva Talks of 22-23 February 2006. It had been agreed that such a report was to be submitted at the second session of the CFA talks to be held on 19-26 April 2006 in Geneva, which however was aborted due to the LTTE's unwillingness to attend the said meeting following its naked violations of the CFA. In fact it was precisely during the period that the second round of Geneva Talks was earlier scheduled to take place that the LTTE attempted to assassinate the Army Commander on the 25th of April when a female suicide bomber exploded the bomb concealed on her person killing nine persons in the vicinity. The restrained manner in which the Government responded to the terror unleashed by the LTTE has been commended by the international community.

Leaving aside the timing of the release of the report, the GOSL is dismayed by the attempt by the Head of the SLMM through the said report to cast aspersions on the conduct of the GOSL. The Report itself confesses in paragraph 4 page 1 that it "has been somewhat difficult for SLMM to inquire into vague and general accusations with very few concrete facts" and that "more time is needed to finalize the inquiries in a professional manner and to all respective parties to respond to the allegations". If there are difficulties which the SLMM has encountered in making proper findings it seems grossly unfair and arbitrary for the SLMM to come to a comprehensive and definitive finding that the GOSL remained unwilling to implement all of its commitments reached at the Geneva Talks of 22-23 February 2006.

The Report proceeds on the tacit premise that the spate of violence that took place from and after the conclusion of Geneva talks was occasioned by the deplorable assassination of Mr. Vigneswaran in Trincomalee of 7 April 2006, an act condemned by the GOSL, and that the admitted violence perpetrated by the LTTE on the armed forces was their way of seeking to pressure the government. While it is self evident that the core object of terrorism is to pressure the governments, the strategy of seeking to pressurize the government, by acts of murder, violence and sabotage, has been the hallmark of the conduct of the LTTE for over three decades. The premise that this spate violence was sparked off by the murder of Mr. Vigneswaran on 7 April is clearly unfounded and contrary to the facts. It is an undeniable fact that the LTTE attacked a Dvora fast attack craft of the Sri Lanka Navy while it was on routine patrol duties killing 8 sailors and wounding 11 on the 25 March 2006 off Kudiramalai point, South of Mannar, amounting to a gross violation of the CFA which the SLMM has conveniently ignored. Furthermore, the LTTE has killed 22 and injured 22 persons from 23 April 2006 through 7 April 2006. Each such incident was a blatant violation of the CFA. This not so subtle attempt to find justification for the LTTE's campaign of terror is not acceptable.

Furthermore, the LTTE targeted and killed 173 members of the armed forces, most of them unarmed and going on leave or returning from leave between the 17 November and 7 April 2006, which facts again have been overlooked or omitted by the SLMM in its report. It appears that the SLMM is making the 7 April 2006 the genesis of all violence and closing their eyes to events between 23 February 2006 and the 7th April 2006, which is the reporting period.
LTTE cadres participating in a military exercise

The GOSL has denied that there are 'paramilitary groups' as defined in the CFA operating in government controlled areas. The GOSL stands by that position. The Karuna group is a faction of the LTTE. The contention of the SLMM that there is complicity with the armed forces in many of the murders of civilians is based entirely on the vague footing that some of them took place near army camps and that the perpetrators of such killings are alleged to have fled to 'GoSL controlled areas'. The dividing line between areas directly controlled by the GOSL and those which the LTTE exercises dominance being well over 600 metres, it is physically impossible for the government to monitor all movements into and out of such areas. This dividing line is much blurred and ambiguous particularly in the Eastern province. The alleged fact that the killing of many civilians took place in the vicinity of establishments of the army is incapable of leading to the inference of the complicity of the army in such killings - for the attempted murder of the Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka, and the murder of his escorts took place not in the vicinity of an army camp but within army headquarters itself and it could hardly be contended that the army had any complicity in the commission of that foul act.

Further evidence of the disregard for the truth is to be found in the statement that at least 88 servicemen were 'killed in action'. In fact, every one of these servicemen were murdered by the LTTE either when going home on leave unarmed or returning from home unarmed or doing sedentary duties at bunkers and check points. The impression sought to be created by the use of the words 'killed in action' is that those murdered servicemen were not specifically targeted but happened to be killed while engaged in military operations against the LTTE.

Another example of this bias is to be found in the statements that while the LTTE were the most likely perpetrator of violence against the armed forces, one cannot rule out some attacks having been committed by some other unnamed 'and unknown' elements. The very thought that there could be some third party (which is not the LTTE) adept at committing mass murder tantamount to crimes against humanity with the use of claymore mines and other sophisticated weapons echoes the cynical propaganda of the LTTE whenever they are accused of attacking the armed forces on land or at sea.

Another pointer to a bias in the SLMM Report is the reference to the alleged disappearance of four civilians at Pesalai following the deadly claymore mine attack on Naval personnel on 23 December 2005, whereas the SLMM report is expected to cover incidents from and after the Geneva Talks on 22-23 February 2006. It appears that the SLMM recalls an incident prior to the Geneva talks only for the purpose of castigating the GOSL, while omitting any acts of violence of the LTTE in the year 2005 or previously.

Another unfounded and prejudicial comment made by the SLMM is that the GOSL showed little willingness to accept requests made by the LTTE aimed at normalizing the situation. The 'requests' referred to in the Report appear to be the requests made by the LTTE for transport by Air Force helicopter for its cadres to attend a meeting in Kilinochchi. The privilege of being transported by Air Force helicopter, which was extended to the LTTE in the past, was stopped following the cowardly assassination of the late Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar by the LTTE.

The SLMM is aware of the fact that while the GOSL did make alternative arrangements, which it was by no means obliged to do in terms of the CFA, these were rejected by the LTTE, namely: (a) security escort on a road movement, (b) Sri Lankan Navy ferry for a sea movement, (c) civilian ferry, (d) a civilian helicopter, (e) a civilian float plane. It was the LTTE that spurned these offers of assistance. Thus, to comment on the GOSL's unwillingness to 'accommodate' LTTE requests while ignoring the political will of the Government in going out the extra mile to arrange safe transport for LTTE cadres and ignoring in its entirety the obduracy of the LTTE to accept transport arrangements other than those which 'they had demanded' surely lacks impartiality.

As regards the opening of political offices of the LTTE the ceasefire agreement entitles the LTTE to do political work in cleared areas but does not entitle it to open political offices therein. The right to open political offices in government controlled areas was, therefore, a privilege granted to them as a measure of goodwill and confidence. SLMM Report completely ignores the fact that the LTTE abused that privilege by using those offices to organize and engage in violent anti-Government and anti-civilian activities and other illegal activities such as child recruitment, extortion, covert intelligence operations that were totally contrary to the CFA in that they do not build confidence but destroy it. SLMM also ignores the fact that even after the LTTE closed those offices on their own accord the government did permit them to open such offices but with conditions on matters relating to security, which are those which are imposed on other political parties to open political offices in any other part of the country. It is important to note that SLMM has failed to recognize that no political activity whatsoever is permitted in the uncleared area by the LTTE unless such activities are those of or in support of the LTTE which claims to be the sole-representative of the Tamils. The SLMM has also totally ignored and failed to record the fact that the LTTE has continued to deny access to its illegal aviation facility established contrary to United Nations Security Council Resolutions, national and international law.

Another finding of the SLMM that calls for comment is the observation that there was in Jaffna a campaign of targeted killings since 10th April 2006 and that in May there were two grave incidents which demonstrated a new development where gunmen targeted groups of civilians instead of individuals. While the SLMM does not name the perpetrators of these killings they completely ignore the fact that neither the targeted killings of civilians nor the killings of groups of civilians is a new phenomenon which commenced in April or May 2006. This is what the LTTE has been doing for well over three decades (during which time they murdered prominent Tamil citizens in the North and East and committed many indiscriminate acts of mass murders) and that they continue to do so even after the Geneva talks of February 2006. It is indeed a surprise that the SLMM totally ignores and does not make even a passing reference to the murders of 6 peasant cultivators at Gomarankadawela on 23 April 2006, the murder of 7 civilian wild-life enthusiasts in the Wilpattu National Park, and the more recent murders of 12 labourers engaged in the repair of an irrigation work who were shot with their hands tied behind their backs by the LTTE at Omidiyamadhu near Welikanda on 30 May 2006.

The obligation to desist from violence is one which is imposed on both parties and is a reciprocal obligation which is fundamental to the whole agreement. It is clear that the LTTE has repudiated its undertakings both under the original CFA of February 2002 as well as in the Communique dated 23rd February 2006 at Geneva. In the circumstances we reject the allegations and speculations made in the report issued by the head of the SLMM on 4th June 2006 as ill-founded and as being made in bad faith to blame the armed forces for these incidents.

The distinctly biased attitude against the GOSL is also evident in the last paragraph of the report made by the Head of the SLMM where in magisterial fashion he presumes to comment on the legal system and the practice of democracy in Sri Lanka for which he has no personal or official mandate and which are beyond the scope of his functions in terms of the CFA and the duty to report on violations of the CFA from and after the 22 February 2006.

It is also pertinent to refer to a statement made by Major General Ulf Henricsson, at the time the EU was deliberating whether to list the LTTE as a terrorist organization. Major General Henricsson stated: "I'm not sure the EU ban is coming at the right time. Worse-case scenario might be that the LTTE thinks it is abandoned by everyone and there is not alternative to a full-scale guerilla war. They target Colombo, tourist resources - investors leave, tourists leave, rich people leave." (Times, UK, May 20, 2006). These ill-considered comments, which border on the realm of speculation at best, could indeed incite the LTTE to engage in violence and produce the very outcome that Major General Ulf Henricsson has speculated on. Such comments do not signify the highest level of professionalism that is required of the Head of the SLMM.

In conclusion, while the GOSL is appreciative of the tasks and challenges faced by the SLMM in carrying out its mandate, it has serious concerns about both the timing as well as the contents of the SLMM Report which in turn also raises serious questions about the impartiality of the SLMM. Meanwhile, the GOSL remains committed to discussing the modalities of operation of the SLMM in Oslo to which it readily agreed on the understanding that it should not be seen a substitute for the second round of Geneva talks.


Senior LTTE cadre, several others killed

A senior LTTE member and three others were killed in a claymore mine explosion on the LTTE controlled Vellankulam-Thunukkai Road in Mannar yesterday morning, a rebel official said.

LTTE spokesman Daya Master said that “Colonel” Mahenthi, an LTTE “Commander” in Mannar district, and three LTTE cadres, were killed.

Mahenthi was in charge of an area in LTTE-controlled Mannar district and he was the former head of the Jaffna liberation unit. He had also led many attacks on the security forces.

Meanwhile, a farmer was killed in another explosion in Nedunkerni in Kilinochchi.
In Muttur, a man and his 10-year-old son were shot dead while they were travelling in a bus from Muttur to Trincomalee.

One person was also injured and admitted to the Trincomalee hospital, Police said. Two employees of the World Bank-funded North East Irrigated Agriculture Project (NEIAP) were also wounded in another claymore mine blast in Nedunkerni.

Meanwhile, three bodies with cut injuries were found at Vijayapura, in Anuradhapura last afternoon. Their hands were tied and their faces had been burnt to prevent identification. Police said the bodies had been dumped at this location after being killed elsewhere.


Two civilians killed in DPU Claymore attack

Sri Lanka Army Deep Penetration Unit soldiers exploded a Claymore mine and killed two civilians, who were riding in a motorbike, inside LTTE controlled territory, at Palaipani in Vavuniya west around 10:00 a.m. Sunday.

Palaipani is located around 36 km northwest of Vavuniya town, 3 km away from Panangamam.

Further details are not available at the moment.


LTTE Commander killed in Claymore attack

Lieutenant Colonel Mahenthi, an LTTE Commander in the Mannar district, was killed along with three LTTE cadres in a Claymore attack carried out by the Sri Lanka Army soldiers on Vellankulam - Thunukkai Road on Saturday morning, LTTE officials in Killinochchi said. A civilian farmer, seriously wounded in a Claymore attack Saturday morning around 6 a.m., succumbed to his wounds at Killinochchi hospital. Two employees of the World Bank-funded North East Irrigated Agriculture Project (NEIAP) were wounded in a separate attack in Nedunkerni. Claymore attacks by the Sri Lankan Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP), known as the Deep Penetration Unit (DPU), have escalated in LTTE-controlled Vanni.

Lt. Col. Mahenthi was in charge of an area in the LTTE-controlled Mannar district.

The civilian farmer who succumbed to his wounds at Killinochchi hospital was identified as Navaratnam Srinagathasan, 32.

Two other attacks were also reported in LTTE-controlled areas on Saturday, according to Tiger officals.

Also on Friday, a blast was reported around 7:25 p.m. in LTTE controlled Mannar area near Pallamadu. Casualty details were not available.

A Sinhala driver and a trainee caretaker of Thummara Enterprise, a Southern contractor firm, were killed two days ago, when the SLA DPU attackers targeted the Mannar Commander of the Tigers.



Top Tiger commander, three others killed in Claymore blast

A top Tamil rebel commander and three other guerrillas were killed in a mine blast in the northwest on Saturday, a pro-rebel report said, as surging violence threatened to drag the island nation back to full-scale civil war.

Pro-rebel Web site TamilNet reported that Lt. Col. Mahenthi was killed by an anti-personnel mine activated by the government military in a rebel-held region of Mannar.

Military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe denied army involvement in the blast, saying the soldiers did not enter rebel-controlled areas in accordance with a 2002 cease-fire agreement.

Mahenthi was the second high profile rebel to be killed since May.

Also on Saturday, a gunman boarded a passenger bus and fatally shot a Tamil man and a 10-year-old boy in the North East, a government source disclosed.

Another passenger was critically wounded in the shooting at Muttur, the Media Centre for National Security said.

Meanwhile nine civilians were injured in a grenade explosion at the Thirunelvely market, North of Jaffna town, around 10.15 a.m. yesterday.

The wounded were brought to the Jaffna teaching hospital yesterday morning.

V.Sivanathan (23), Jaffna town, N.Vijeyakumar (40), Kokkuvil, N. Uthayakumar (34), Allaipiddy, V.Sivashanthini (24), Arasady Road, Urumparai, A.Murugamoorthy (45), Thirunelvely, T.Thivakaran (26), Kokkuvil, A. Prsanth (13), Thirunelvely, K. Vanthan (23), Palaly road, Thirunelvely and T. Raventhirarasa (40), Kokkuvil were identi fied as those injured in the blast, according to sources.


Karuna inflict havoc in wanni tiger flanks

Military wing leader of wanni tiger organization in Mannar,‘Lieu. Col.’ Mahendi, was killed in an attack carried out by members of Karuna faction of the tiger organization at early hours of the morning yesterday (10th). Three other tiger cadres too died in the attack carried out on Mannar – Mullaithivu road.

Two more attacks had been carried out by Karuna faction in the area and in one carried out at Puthikudiruppu ‘Cama auntie’, wife of tiger leader Karikalan, a director of tiger hospital called ‘Ponnambalam Hospital’, has been killed.

In an attack carried out by members of Karuna faction at Batticaloa the ring leader of paramilitary group of tiger organization was killed together with two members of tiger intelligence unit.


15 wanni tigers die in tiger clash

15 members of wanni tiger organization have died and a large number injured in a clash between the members of wanni tiger organization and members of Karuna faction of the tiger organization. This has been revealed by security forces by listening to radio transmissions between groups of wanni tigers.

The incident had occurred in an un-cleared area at Periyakulam in Trincomalee District.

Members of Karuna faction had attacked forward defense lines of wanni tigers this morning at about 2.00 a.m. Three bunkers of wanni tigers have been completely destroyed the radio transmissions had revealed.

Harm to Karuna faction has not been revealed yet.


Top Tamil rebel commander, three guerrillas killed in mine blast

A top Tamil rebel commander and three other guerrillas were killed in a mine blast in northwestern Sri Lanka Saturday, a pro-rebel report said, as surging violence threatens to drag the island nation back to full-scale civil war.

Pro-rebel Web site TamilNet reported that Lt. Col. Mahenthi was killed by an anti-personnel mine activated by government military in a rebel-held region of Mannar district 220 kilometers (135 miles) north of the capital, Colombo.

Military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe denied army was involved in the blast saying that the soldiers do not enter rebel-controlled areas in accordance with a 2002 cease-fire agreement.

Mahenthi is the second high profile rebel to be killed since May.

Also Saturday, a gunman boarded a passenger bus and fatally shot an ethnic Tamil man and a 10-year-old boy in northeastern Sri Lanka, the government said.

Another passenger was critically wounded in the shooting in Muttur, about 230 kilometers (140 miles) northeast of the capital, Colombo, the Media Center for National Security said.

The center said it suspected Tamil Tiger rebels in the killings but that the motive was unknown. Rebel officials could not be contacted immediately for comment.

Scores of government troops and rebels have been killed in Sri Lanka's volatile north and east since April, when hostilities heightened between the government and Tamil Tigers.

Also many civilians have been killed under mysterious circumstances with the government and the rebels blaming each other for the crimes.

On Friday, an entire family of four _ a man, his wife and their two young children _ were found hacked to death in northwestern Sri Lanka.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels have fought the government since 1983 to create a separate state for ethnic minority Tamils, accusing the majority Sinhalese-dominated state of discrimination.

More than 65,000 people were killed in the conflict before the two sides signed a 2002 cease-fire brokered by Norway. Subsequent peace talks have broken down.

On Thursday, proposed direct talks in Norway between government and rebel representatives on ensuring the security of 60 European cease-fire monitors failed after the rebels refused to meet with government officials.