All seventeen of Action Against Hunger's employees in Muttur were found dead lying face down at the organization's base in Muttur. An Action Against Hunger team arrived at the scene and has officially confirmed the scale of the massacre. Amid ongoing fighting, the team recovered the bodies of the 17 national employees and brought them back to Trincomalee.
The bodies of the 17 Action Against Hunger employees arrived at Trincomalee hospital last night. All victims had been shot. Post-mortems are been carried out with the support of a United Nations representative. An investigation will be launched as soon as possible.
Action Against Hunger and the international NGO community in Sri Lanka have called on Sri Lankan authorities to carry out a transparent and conclusive investigation with support from the international community.
The Action Against Hunger employees, 13 men and 4 women, between the ages of 23 and 54, were water and sanitation experts, engineers, agronomists, and project managers.
Action Against Hunger has implemented programs to improve hygiene conditions and access to water for 1,000 families in the area. The emergency program was launched to support people displaced due to interethnic tensions and the resumption of fighting in April and May 2006. Food security programs and other economic activities were also carried out in response to the needs of people affected by the tsunami of December 2004.
Benôit Miribel, Executive Director of Action Against Hunger- Frace, will leave for Sri Lanka tomorrow to support Action Against Hunger colleagues on the ground and to convey the shock and indignation about this tragedy on behalf of the Action Against Hunger International Network. He will also attend mourning services. Mr Biribel will ensure that an independent investigation is carried out to find out exactly what happened and to ensure that the perpetrators of this massacre-whose identity is not yet known-will be prosecuted.
Tomorrow, Action Against Hunger will express its indignation with regards to the "Muttur massacre" during a press conference at the organization's headquarters in Paris at 11:30 AM (French time).
Action Against Hunger has implemented programs in Sri Lanka since 1996 to assist the population affected by the conflict between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan army along with people who were displaced following the tsunami of December 2004. Action Against Hunger's teams in Sri Lanka include 15 international employees and 224 national employees (three international employees and 50 national employees in Trincomalee).