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Appendix 3


ACF 19 Nov.08 Daily Mirror

Military official in Mutur area testifies at ACF probe


By Sumaiya Rizvi

A team Commander of the Commando regiment in the Mutur area during the LTTE attacks during which period 17 local staff of the NGO Action Contre Le Femme (ACF) were killed in 2006, yesterday gave evidence to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry.

“Some of the soldiers under my command reported to me that they had found the bodies of civilians killed and the stench of the bodies were strong; they might have been killed some days ago” he said. According to him the commandos were on an operation to secure the road area to Kattaparichchan when they came to the area of the SLT tower on August 5, 2006.

In the afternoon they were informed by the Commanding Officer of the Commandos about civilian casualties in the SLT tower area prior to their discovery. Thereafter, the witness said he communicated the information to other members of his team.

State Counsel Kodagoda said an assistant of the former IIGEP, David Savage had presented a report based on a testimony of a police officer R. Shanmugarajah who had been in Mutur and now in asylum contradicting his own statement made to the Commissions Investigating team.

 The report, allegedly an eye witness’s account by this police officer which holds the Commandos in charge of the massacre, Kodagoda said. The report presented by Savage states that the police officer had secretly followed the Commandos when they entered the ACF office, premises and once they entered the office he had heard gunfire while he was outside the parapet wall.

“We have been specially trained to sneak up on the enemy and we crawl, kneel and creep when we travel from place to place. It is impossible for anyone to follow us without getting fired if they were carrying a weapon and if he did not have a weapon we would have cornered them,” the witness said.

“The only part I agree with the report is when they state that we left at 4 to 5 am when we left the Mutur Police camp in the morning of August 4, but after that point I totally disagree since we left to make a safe passage for our Commanding Officer to come via the Mutur Jetty to the area we were in,” the witness said.

According to the witness they had not told the police, home guards and others in the police of their whereabouts since they believed that it might be known to the LTTE. “When we came to the police station, it came under immediate enemy fire and it made us believe that if we told them where we were heading that it might be known to the LTTE; that’s why we kept it to ourselves” he added.

Witness: I don’t remember telling them (Acting OIC Police) why we were going and where, if I told them that we were going to the Mutur town city it was to mislead the information that might have been passed to the enemy”.

When questioned whether they took a home guard or police personnel, the witness said no, they didn’t since it would have been a liability for them and in his career of 14-years, he had never been in a situation where the Commandos were being assisted or guided, since they move in a different way unique to their training and they use the compass and map; therefore they do not need any assistance on the terrain.

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