‘Coordinated, deliberate’ SLA campaign in LTTE areas - SLMM

[TamilNet, Friday, 01 September 2006, 14:05 GMT]
Amid the furore triggered by international truce monitors’ findings that Sri Lankan security forces carried out the massacre of 17 aid workers, other conclusions by the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) lost focus, including the charge the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) carried out “deliberate, planned and coordinated offensive military operations” against LTTE cadres and civilians in LTTE-controlled areas from April 1, weeks after Norwegian facilitated talks in Geneva to de-escalate rising violence.

“[Our] findings and internal analysis of both individual claymore mine attacks, as well as of the pattern arising from the same show that deliberate, planned and coordinated offensive military operations were conducted between April 1 April and June 15 2006 in LTTE-controlled areas,” the SLMM said.

The SLMM also verified two attempted claymore mine attacks carried out by the Sri Lankan Special Forces units in LTTE controlled area on June 13 and 15, 2006: two soldiers were killed and returned to the Sri Lankan government (GoSL) through the ICRC.



The SLA campaign in LTTE-controlled areas came six weeks after GoSL and LTTE negotiators met in Geneva in late February to de-escalate a simmering ‘shadow war’ that had begun to escalate in December 2005.

The GoSL delegation, which initially refused to recommit to the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement, reluctantly agreed to implement the truce, in particularly disarming anti-LTTE paramilitaries which the Tigers said were backed by the Sri Lankan military in a campaign against LTTE cadres and supporters.

But the SLMM says SLA regular forces escalated a campaign in LTTE-controlled areas weeks later.

“The executed and attempted attacks are part of a pattern of a deliberate strategy against LTTE cadres and civilians in LTTE controlled areas in Mannar and Vavuniya Districts by the GoSL Security Forces or by other armed elements with the substantial assistance and support from the GoSL Security Forces,” the SLMM said.

“It is clear that the units/groups executed these attacks with the possibility to escape into GoSL controlled areas where safe exit/entry points, logistic and other assistance must have been provided by the Security Forces and/or GoSL/police units deployed along the Forward Defense Line (FLD),” the SLMM said.

“Based on the verified activities of the SLA Special unit soldiers in LTTE controlled areas there are firm indications of the involvement of the SLA in such attacks,” the SLMM said.

“Despite the binding laws and regulations it is particularly serious to notice that, the vast majority of the attacks have been directed or resulted in death and serious injuries to civilians,” the SLMM said.

Seven of the attacks/detonations using claymore mines have taken place in and around the area where the Holy Madhu Shrine is located, the SLMM also said.

“The GoSL Security Forces, having the motive, capability and capacity to carry out such attacks against the LTTE in the Northeast, bear the responsibility for killing and injuring the LTTE cadres and the civilians caught in the blast from these attacks,” the SLMM.

The monitors blamed the LTTE for a devastating mine attack against a bus transporting Sinhala civilians in GoSL-controlled area which killed almost 70 people.

The SLMM rejected the LTTE’s claim Army-backed paramilitaries of the Karuna Group were responsible for the attack on the bus at Kebitigollewa.

“Taking specifically into account the prevailing circumstances and obtained findings there are strong indications that the attack on Sinhalese civilians had been a deliberate retaliation for the recent killings of civilians and LTTE cadres in LTTE controlled areas in the North and the East.”

 

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