INGOs stay in Kilinochchi at their own risk
The government would not guarantee the safety of the INGO and NGO
workers including those who work with the UN agencies from Tuesday, the
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, told the 'Sunday Observer'
He said that these agencies have been given time until tomorrow (29)
to vacate Kilinochchi and Mullaithivu and the government hoped that all
these workers would return to Vavuniya before the deadline. "But we
won't guarantee their safety after September 29.
The unliberated areas are not safe for them as the security forces
have intensified the offensives against the LTTE to reach Kilinochchi",
he said.Rajapaksa, said that the security forces were confidently going
ahead into the Tiger heartland, which is its administrative capital and
the war against the LTTE would be intensified in the coming days as
troops are attacking the terrorists from more fronts.
"Now troops are very close to Kilinochchi and the government does not
want these workers to be caught in a cross fire. We want to ensure their
safety", he said.
The Defence Secretary also said that the Zoa had informed him about
the decision of one of their project managers to join the LTTE and the
security forces could not guarantee his security in future.
Meanwhile, the Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka said that all
the international aid workers who have volunteered to remain with the
LTTE to support the outfit will be treated as terrorists and dealt with
the existing laws of the country.
Referring to the LTTE's latest recruit - an Italian INGO worker, the
Army Chief said that the security forces could not guarantee his
security and he had been categorised as a terrorist.
"He has joined the LTTE at the wrong time where the days of the LTTE
are numbered", he said adding that the security forces would not care
about the safety of any foreign national after the deadline.
The Project Manager of the Zoa, one of the key INGOs under the UN
Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA), has also forwarded a letter
endorsing his enrolment to the LTTE. The senior officer of the Zoa, who
worked in Kilinochchi, has refused to leave the LTTE territory.
According to Defence Ministry sources, the Italian official had been
working for the LTTE for the past several years.
Meanwhile the Minister of Social Services Douglas Devananda said that
new laws to scrutinize the NGO activities would be implemented soon.
He said that there were over 1,250 national level NGOs and over
20,000 community based organizations in the country, but only 408 have
submitted actions plans annually.
Minister Devananda said, in the absence of a single institution to
monitor their activities it had led to much corruption, misuse of public
money, non-accountability and non-transparency. According to Minister
Devananda, though some of the NGOs are registered under the NGOs
Secretariat of his Ministry, lot of other NGOs were operating under
other laws and did not register with the secretariat. "We are not able
to monitor the large amount of money they bring into the country and do
not know where the money goes.
We had received complaints that these NGOs are helping the LTTE but
due to the poor system under the prevailing laws we are powerless to
take action against them", he said.
He said that new laws would be implemented soon to give more teeth to
the relevant authorities to control the sector to prevent money and
their resources going into the hands of the LTTE and other illegal