Sri Lanka accuses UN of trying to shield Tamil Tigers

Sri Lanka's state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene (L) takes part in a press conference in Colombo on April 24, 2019. - A Sri Lankan security dragnet hunting those responsible for horrifying bombings that claimed more than 350 lives has scooped up a further 18 suspects, police said April 24, as pressure mounted on politicians to explain why no one acted on intelligence warnings. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

May 07, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka Monday accused a United Nations agency of trying to shield what it called the ‘criminal acts’ of the Tamil Tigers by not reporting two of its staffers had been abducted by the guerrillas. Minister of Foreign Affairs Rohitha Bogollagama said in a statement the government was concerned by a reference in a UN statement to the abduction of the two staffers as an ‘arrest by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

“¦the circumstances relating to this incident could be perceived as an attempt by the UN authorities in Sri Lanka to shield the LTTE’s criminal actions,” he said.

The statement was issued after Bogollagama summoned World Food Programme country director Jeff Taft-Dick to complain about the UN agency’s failure to report the abduction.

Two UN staff members were abducted and detained by the Tigers in early April while working in the Tiger-held Kilinochchi area, 330 kilometres north of Colombo, but the agency did not inform the government till the end of the month.

The Foreign Ministry statement quoted Taft-Dick as saying the use of the word ‘arrest’ had been a mistake and that the UN classified it as an ‘abduction’.

It said Taft-Dick had told Bogollagama