Sri Lanka rejects charity worker massacre charge as “outrageous”

LONDON, Aug 30, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka rejected as “outrageous” Wednesday a ruling by independent ceasefire monitors that government forces were responsible for the massacre of 17 employees of a French charity. Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, who was visiting London, told the BBC that the Swedish-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) had made its conclusion ahead of a police investigation.

The SLMM chief Ulf Henricsson in a statement issued in Colombo said he had “confidential discussions with highly reliable sources” about those responsible for the August 4 killings and concluded that the military was involved.

“… the security forces of Sri Lanka are widely and consistently deemed to be responsible for the incident,” Henricsson said.

The locally employed workers of Action Against Hunger were shot in the head “execution-style” according to witnesses who saw their bodies several days after the killing in Sri Lanka’s northeastern town of Muttur where troops and Tigers were battling at the time.

Samaraweera, accompanying President Mahinda Rajapakse who arrived here Tuesday for talks with Premier Tony Blair, said the SLMM made its conclusions before the police probe and forensic