Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sri Lanka nationalists accuse Catholic bishops

The Sri Lanka military last week strongly rejected allegations made by two Catholic bishops in the north of the island that the military used cluster munitions during the final stages of the May 2009 assault that ended the terrorist insurgency of the Tamil Tigers.

During a meeting with Stephen Rapp, the US ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues, on 8 January, the Bishop of Mannar, Rayappu Joseph, and the Bishop of Jaffna Thomas Savundranayagam asked the US official to initiate an investigation into whether the government forces used cluster munitions and chemical weapons in densely populated areas in the final stages of the attack on Tamil Tiger strongholds.

The Tamil Tigers used civilians as human shields, shooting those who fled. 

The bishops also asked the diplomat to conduct investigations into allegations that the Government deliberately attacked hospitals, places of worship and blocked food and medicine intended for civilians.

After the meeting Buddhist monks protested before the US embassy in Colombo against what they said was meddling in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs.

Military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said the Sri Lanka Army at no point in its history of counter terrorist operations had used unconventional weapons.

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