Saturday, September 29, 2007

42 surrender - Who and why?

The new military spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara yesterday said some 42 “LTTE cadres” surrendered to the Jaffna Human Rights Commission during the past few weeks. An official at the Human Rights Commission office in Colombo however said that those who surrendered to the Jaffna office were youth who feared abduction or recruitment by the LTTE.

“Most of those who surrender or are handed over by their parents are those who fear the LTTE. We hand them over to the police who in turn produce them before the magistrate,” the official said.

Jaffna sources said that people who hand themselves over to the Jaffna HRC are produced before the magistrate and remanded as there is no “protective” place to keep the civilians who are seeking security from the LTTE and other actors.

“These people are not LTTE and cannot be termed as such,” the source said.

The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission in its weekly security assessment reports has also been reporting such surrendering taking place, but has not referred to them as being LTTE cadres.

“On September 10, seven men aged 20-35 surrendered to the police in Jaffna, with the help of the Human Rights Commission (HRC) due to fear for their lives,” the SLMM said.

In his first public appearance since his appointment as the new military spokesman in place of Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe who is being posted to the Sri Lankan high commission in Britain -- Brigadier Nanayakara said LTTE cadres were deserting their ranks due to their recent losses.

He said rebels were trying to secure their remaining territory in the North following heavy loses in the east and this has resulted in fierce, almost daily, battles at Northern Forward Defence Lines.

The SLMM recently announced that an international monitor would be located at its office in Jaffna on a permanent basis. Although the SLMM office in Jaffna has been opened, it had been manned by SLMM's local staff with international monitors traveling to Jaffna regularly.


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