Tuesday, December 2, 2008


ACF did not ask for army protection: Witness

By Sumaiya Rizvi

Trincomalee security forces commander told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) investigating serious violations of human rights that he directed the army to look for the bodies of 17 Action Contre le Femme (ACF) workers after the Government Agent informed him of the killing.

“Some civilians told the Trincomalee GA about seeing bodies in the area and about two and half hours later my troops informed me about recovering the bodies,” the witness said.

The CoI requested that the identity of the witness should not be revealed.

Trincomalee GA had also told the witness that the bodies might be those of some NGO workers and that they were in an area close to a communications tower in the Mutur town.

The army started entering Mutur town only after August 6, the Witness said and after the bodies were found had informed the GA and the police to take necessary action.

“The LTTE was in Mutur town from August 2 to August 4 or 5 based on the mortar and artillery attacks directed at the army. But sometime on the 4th evening and early morning of the 5th the LTTE had a considerably reduced presence in the area,” the witness said.The witness, a army Major General said that his priority was to get in to the Mutur jetty and re establish and re-inforce the defence perimeter in the area and increase the supply of arms and ammunition and rations to the Kattaparichchan Camp.

He said the Kattaparichchan Camp, naval detachment at the Mutur jetty and the Mutur police station had come under severe attack while the Selvanagar and Mahindapura Army Camps for some reason were free of terrorist attacks.

“Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission head Ulf Henriksson did not contact me or speak to anyone under my command to get any information,” the witness said.

The witness denied that any ACF personnel approached the Army in relation to the safety of the 17 aid workers and said that if the ACF did so he would have definitely known about it.

Previously ACF officials testifying before the Commission said they had spoken to a high ranking Army officer about the safety of the ACF workers.

The Witness said Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse had instructed him to send security forces to the Mutur police station since the policemen were going to flee or surrender.

On August 7 the police were in the area to video the removal of the bodies of the 17 aid workers who were killed, a retired senior Trincomalee police DIG said.

The witness said he was surprised that an important incident such as this was not made known at a crucial meeting attended by SSP Nimal Samarakoon.


August 6, 2006 – 17 Aid workers of Action found assassinated in Muttur
October 6, 2006 – Presidential Commission appointed to probe incident


No comments: