Monday, two tsunami aid workers from the Catholic group, Caritas
Internationalis were killed when an anti-personnel mine exploded near
their vehicle. It is the latest in ongoing series of violence in Sri
Lanka’s largely rebel-controlled Jaffna peninsula.
According to the Reuters news service, shrapnel from the explosion killed Mr. Shanmugaratham Pathmanathan and Mr. Chelvendra Pradeepkumar, both workers at Caritas’ Human Development center in Jaffna. Five soldiers in a nearby military vehicle were also killed.
“We are broken hearted for the families of Mr. Pathmanathan and Mr. Pradeepkumar,” Father C.G. Jeyakumar, Director of Caritas Jaffna, told Reuters.
“Mr Pathmanathan”, he said, “had three young children who will now grow up without their father. Mr. Pradeepkumar was engaged and planning to visit his fiancée in Canada in a few weeks…It is a very tragic thing that yet more civilians have been killed in the crossfire of the conflict in Sri Lanka. Their deaths show that aid workers in Sri Lanka are very vulnerable. We are all very frightened about the situation here.”
Duncan MacLaren, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis condemned the attack saying that “Targets of any sort are unacceptable, but when innocent civilians who are working to rebuild after such devastation is an outrage.”
Many say that a recent surge of violence may lead the still tsunami devastated country back into civil war.