The Scandinavian truce monitoring mission declined to provide a breakdown of the number of persons killed during the past 15 months. The Norwegian-led mission said that revelation of such information might not be favourable to its role in Sri Lanka.
The Island sought clarification after the mission in a statement issued to coincide the fifth anniversary of the Ceasefire Agreement claimed that nearly 4,000 people lost their lives in incidents connected to the ethnic conflict during the past 15 months in contrast to the three previous years when less than 130 deaths relating to the conflict were reported.
The statement implied that there has been a sharp escalation of violence since November 2005. The mission emphasized that it did not `publish exact breakdown in casualties in Sri Lanka`s ethnic conflict.`
The mission said that they placed the number of deaths at 4,000 on the basis of daily reports from truce monitors where every single case in accordance to the conflict has been recorded. `Therefore, the SLMM can assure that the figure is very close to being accurate,` its spokesperson said adding that over 1,500 civilians were among the 4,000 people killed.
According to the statement issued on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the CFA, the monitoring mission said that spate of abductions, harassment, killings, shelling and air strikes were at a war-like level.
The military accused the monitoring mission of conveniently forgetting the cause for the escalation of violence.
The attempt on Army Chief Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka`s life April last year followed by a massive strike on the army`s Jaffna frontline in the second week of August against the backdrop of battles at Mavilaru and Trincomalee caused sizeable losses to both parties, a senior military official said. He pointed out that among the 130 people killed before the change of government was Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar. The LTTE also made an attempt on EPDP leader Minister Douglas Devananda`s life, he added.
According to records forwarded by the SLMM to the Government Peace Secretariat, the LTTE had violated the CFA on 3,273 occasions from February 2002 to October 2005 against 148 violations by security forces during the same period. By December 31, 2006, the SLMM had ruled 3,827 violations against the LTTE and 348 by security forces. The military said that the SLMM also forgets that it confirmed 1,744 cases of child recruitment, 128 cases of abduction of children, 25 cases of forced recruitment of adults and 579 cases of abduction of adults during the relatively peaceful period.