French charity vows to “get to bottom” of Sri Lanka massacre

Standing left to right – Mr. Dinesh Jebamani (Chief Manager Liability Product Management and New Age Media – Seylan Bank), Mr.Sudesh Peiris (Senior Manager – Digital Banking Channels – Seylan Bank), Ms. S.Senevirathne (Representative of the Revenue Department – Western Province), Mr. Tilan Wijeyesekera (Deputy General Manager – Retail Banking – Seylan Bank) and Mr. Malik Wickremanayaka (Deputy General Manager – Operations – Seylan Bank)

COLOMBO, Aug 11, 2006 (AFP) – The head of a French charity vowed Friday to “get to the bottom” of the massacre of 17 employees in Sri Lanka and said his group was reassessing its operations given the escalating conflict there.

The 13 men and four women, aged 23 to 54, worked mostly as engineers on water sanitation and agronomy projects for the charity.

Government troops and the Tigers have blamed each other for the execution-style killings.

Following the massacre, the charity — whose 15 expatriate and 224 local workers provided humanitarian relief in conflict zones and in areas hit by the December 2004 tsunami — suspended its local mission to Sri Lanka.

Benoit Miribel, the director general of Action Against Hunger (Action contre la Faim or ACF), said he would visit Trincomalee district where local staff were shot dead by unidentified gunmen last weekend.

A government investigation into the massacre would be closely watched by ACF and humanitarian agencies internationally, he said.

“Everyone wants a light … focused on this investigation to get to the bottom of this,” he told reporters in Colombo.

He said he would assess if it was still possible for a non-governmental agency li