EPDP, Karuna Group and PLOTE amongst paramilitaries - US State Dept

[TamilNet, Monday, 13 March 2006, 01:32 GMT]
Commenting, amongst other abuses, on the numerous killings in Sri Lanka’s northeast last year, the US State Department’s 2006 annual human rights report blamed “paramilitary forces” as well as the Liberation Tigers for “politically motivated killings” and singled out three paramilitary groups – the Karuna Group, EPDP and PLOTE – for criticism. The State Department said many of those killed by the LTTE were members of the anti-LTTE paramilitary groups and informants for the security forces.

The 2006 State Department report notes that “both the [Sri Lankan] government and the LTTE frequently violated the 2002 peace accord,” in reference to the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) which came into effect in February that year.

According to the CFA, which was hailed at the time of its signing by the international backers of the Norwegian peace process, Sri Lanka should have disarmed its Army-backed paramilitary forces and disbanded them or absorbed them into its regular armed forces for service outside the Tamil northeast.

The government of Mahinda Rajapakse insists this has been done, but throughout a cycle of violence that has escalated in the past two years despite the formal truce, the LTTE has insisted that Sri Lankan military intelligence is deploying five paramilitary groups in a concerted campaign of violence against its members and supporters.

The State Department’s 2006 report also raises doubts about the government’s denials.

“There were numerous reports that armed paramilitary groups, suspected of being linked to the government or security forces, participated in armed attacks during the year. These groups included the Karuna faction of the LTTE, the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP), and the People's Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE),” the report said.

“There were reports that the government provided protection and military aid to Karuna and his cadres to assist them in their fight against LTTE cadre. The government denied any connection to Karuna and his cadres,” the report also said.

Karuna, the Tigers’ most senior commander in the east, defected to the SLA in April 2004 following the collapse of his six-week rebellion against the LTTE leadership. Since then several LTTE cadres and supporters, paramilitaries and security forces personnel have been killed in violence that has come to be characterized as a ‘shadow war’ or ‘subversive war.’

“[Although] there were no confirmed reports of politically motivated killings by the government; however, it was often alleged that paramilitary groups, sometimes with the aid of the government, engaged in targeted killings of political opponents,” the report said. “The government and the army denied the allegations.”

The State Department report also said there were “25 instances of politically motivated disappearances at the hands of the security forces during the year, and 10 instances by paramilitary forces allegedly tied to the government,” citing figures by Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commission.

In addition “there were no developments in any of the unclassified disappearance cases cited by the 2000 UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; neither was there any effort put forward by the government to gather information on these cases,” the US report added.

Many of those killed by the LTTE were members of anti-LTTE paramilitary groups, the State Department report said, adding that members of anti-LTTE Tamil political parties had also been targetted.

“During the year there were credible reports that LTTE killed 68 members of the police and military, more than 106 members of anti-LTTE Tamil paramilitary groups, LTTE cadres loyal to the Karuna faction, alleged Tamil informants for the security forces, and civilians,” the report said.

“During the year 18 current and past anti-LTTE Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) members were killed. Credible sources indicated that the LTTE killed 45 members of the breakaway military leader Karuna's group. There was also credible evidence that the LTTE killed 15 members of the military intelligence apparatus in a targeted campaign,” the report said.

“Gunmen from Karuna's paramilitary group allegedly killed 27 LTTE cadres, including E. Kausalyan, the LTTE political leader for Batticaloa, and Sebastiampillai Jeyachandran, the LTTE political leader for Trincomalee. Karuna's group was believed also to have killed 20 civilians, including the April 15 killing of Thirukkovil divisional secretary A.K. Thavaraja and the June 29 killing of newspaper distributor Arasakumar Kannamuthu.”

Related Articles:
26.02.06   Paramilitary operatives: ultimate victims of covert warfare?
23.02.06   GoSL to disarm armed groups

External Links:
US: US Country Report on Human Rights Practices: 1995, Sri Lanka


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