French charity demands capture of Sri Lanka ‘butchers’

PARIS, Aug 9, 2006 (AFP) – A French charity on Wednesday demanded that the “butchers” behind the murder of 17 of its employees in Sri Lanka’s embattled northeast be brought to justice and full light shed on the killings. ACF director Benoit Miribel was to leave for Sri Lanka Wednesday to attend ceremonies commemorating the dead — to be marked by a minute of silence at all ACF offices across the world — and to oversee the launch of the investigation. “These butchers must be caught,” said the aid group’s honorary president, writer Jean-Christophe Rufin.

Rufin called for the European Union and the United Nations to be associated with the investigation promised by the Sri Lankan government, saying the “massacre” should be treated as a war crime.

“We will not let go of this,” he vowed, demanding that Action Contre la Faim (Action Against Hunger, ACF) be given full access to the victims’ bodies and to all stages of the inquiry.

The ACF staffers, all Sri Lankan nationals, were found dead on Sunday in their office in the northeastern town of Muttur, as heavy fighting pitted Sri Lankan troops against Tamil Tiger rebels.

The 13 men and four women, aged 23 to 54, worked mostly as engineers on water sanitation and a