Disarm paramilitary, stop Claymore attacks - SLMM

[TamilNet, Friday, 13 January 2006, 10:59 GMT]
The Scandinavian truce monitors, who condemned the Claymore attack on Sri Lanka Navy personnel in Chettikulam on Thursday, have blamed the Government of Sri Lanka emphasizing that the current situation also stems from "the fact that alternative armed elements have been able to operate freely in the East" in Sri Lanka Army controlled areas. While urging Colombo to "face up to its responsibility" to disarm the paramilitaries, the truce monitors said that the LTTE involvement in Claymore attacks cannot be ruled out. The SLMM appealed to both the parties to come up with firm confidence building measures with the "truthful aim of reaching a peaceful solution."

Full text of the SLMM statemet follows:

PRESS RELEASE
SLMM HQ
Colombo
Date: 13 January 2006
Ref: SLMM HQ/7787


SUBJECT: SLMM questions whether there is still a Ceasefire in Sri Lanka.

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. 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.

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. It is safe to say that LTTE involvement cannot be ruled out and we find the LTTE's indifference to these attacks worrying.

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 amount 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.

 

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