2ND LEAD

ACF workers demand handover of massacred NGO workers' bodies

[TamilNet, Monday, 07 August 2006, 11:39 GMT]
The humanitarian workers of the French NGO, Action Contre la Faim (Action Against Hunger, ACF) have urged the support of all NGO workers to exert pressure to release the bodies of the massacred Tamil workers in Muthur, NGO sources said. Fifteen Tamil NGO workers were allegedly massacred by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) troopers who entered Muthur town after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fighters returned to their original positions Friday midnight after launching a 3-day-long counter offensive against SLA advance towards Maavilaru.

Fifteen Tamil workers were shot and killed at point-blank range, according to initial reports from Muthur Saturday.

The France based NGO has said it would bring to light perpetrators of the tragic incident.

The organisation suspended its programs and required an investigation into the massacre, according to a press release issued by the french NGO.

"The employees were wearing tee-shirts clearly identifying their mission," the organisation said.

The director of the organisation has initiated a psychological assistance programme supporting the families of the victims.

“It is the first time that Action Against the Hunger has experienced a masscare of it's staff in its 27-year of existence," said Denis Metzger, the president of the NGO.

"This massacre once again illustrates the difficulties encountered by the humanitarion workers in conflict areas."

The organisation has 224 employees in Sri Lanka. 15 of the employees are foreign nationals, 3 of them working in Trincomalee district. More than 50 workers were employed in the district of Trincomalee.

The ACF, with years of expertise in nutrition, health, food security, water and sanitation, was working with water supply of Trincomalee town and adjoining areas in the district that comes under the Kantalai water treatment plant.

The NGO has been working with rehabilitation of wells for drinking water and agriculture, Hygiene Education under Water and Sanitation programme, distribution of farming tools and equipment, promoting cultivation of rice, nutritional BP5 biscuits and food vouchers in Sri Lanka.

The ACF delivers programs in over 40 countries, specializing in emergency situations of war, conflict, and natural disasters and longer-term assistance to people in distress.

The percentage of population without access to drinking water in Sri Lanka, according to ACF, is 23%.


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