02/08/2008, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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Anglican Church: Both government and Tigers responsible for the massacre of civilians

by Melani Manel Perera
After the wave of attacks and bombings against civilians, the bishop of Colombo, Duleep de Chickera, appeals to the parties in conflict to spare the civilians, especially the children. A call to the population for calm, and for peaceful coexistence.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - The Anglican Church in Sri Lanka is pointing its finger at the government and the Tamil rebels, condemning the one for the aerial bombardments in the northern villages and the others for their strategy of terrorist attacks.  Both are held guilty for the massive losses among civilians, who have always been the real victims of country's bloody conflict.  It is the Anglican bishop of Colombo, Duleep de Chickera, who has spoken out with a special message released yesterday on the many attacks that have struck the island in the past week. 

"The recent spate of calculated mayhem targeted against innocent civilians that collectively killed scores of civilians including school children, and injured many more, especially at Dambulla (February 2) and the Fort Railway Station (February 3) must be condemned without reservation" "It is clearly the work of the LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam]", the statement says, "and demonstrates a total disregard for the right to life of ordinary adults and children going about their daily business of religious observances, work and recreation". According to the bishop, the terrorist actions of the Tigers are "counterproductive" for the Tamil cause of equality and justice itself: this "leads to the conversion of moderates to extremism".

Expressing "great concern" above all about the fate of the children, de Chikera is appealing to the government to stop the aerial attacks on the northern villages. The bishop directs attention to the two houses for children operated by his Church in Dharmapuram and Kilinochi: "I am aware that these little friends of mine live in fear and have nowhere to run except into their bunkers when the planes arrive. Please do everything possible to avoid harming these little ones". He concludes, finally, with a call to the entire population "to remain calm under provocation and to do all we can to strengthen understanding and peaceful coexistence".

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