Government insists Indian never spoke of plot to kill President

Samaraweera said that as of this time, the only source for these allegations is a statement made by A.M. Namal Kumara. He said that while the Criminal investigation Department has yet to report any evidence substantiating the existence of such a plot, these allegations are so grave in their implication that CID detectives must take every precaution thoroughly investigate and seek to corroborate their every element, as a matter of national security. Thomas was produced before the Colombo Fort Magistrates Court, and an order to detain him in CID custody was sought and obtained.Samaraweera said that the reason CID officers sought to detain Thomas was to conduct further investigations on a suspicion that Thomas may have violated Section 5 of the Prevention of Terrorism Act No. 48 of 1978 by failing to report information pertaining to plans to commit an act of terror. The Government has insisted that an Indian man who was arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) never spoke of a plot to kill President Maithripala Sirisena or the former President.Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera, in a statement said that the CID is conducting investigations into serious allegations of an alleged conspiracy to assassinate President Maithripala Sirisena, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, amongst others. On Monday, CID officers arrested Indian national “Marceli Thomas” in connection with this investigation. “Therefore, it is inexcusable to make such serious and inflammatory statements on a matter of public record without citing any sources or mode of corroboration.  Responsible media organisations and public figures alike should restrict their reporting on judicial matters to the written and verbal submissions made by parties before the court. Such caution is all the more paramount with regards to reporting on criminal investigations with serious implications to the security of the state,” he said. (Colombo Gazette) This suspicion was filed in writing by the CID and stated verbally in open court. Further evidence in support of this submission was shared with the Magistrate in chambers.“Several media outlets have since given wide publicity to false, unattributed claims that the CID had alleged in court that an Indian national had confirmed the existence of a plot to assassinate President Sirisena, Mr. Rajapaksa and others. These news reports are false, baseless and inflammatory. The CID has not, at any time, in either written or verbal submissions to the Magistrates Court, made any statement that could lead to the conclusion or inference that an assassination plot has been established or corroborated, whether through Mr. Thomas or by any other means,” Samaraweera said.The Minister said that journalists are free to observe any court proceedings in person or to apply for transcripts of proceedings and court filings through the Registrar of the Court. read more

UN calls on Liberian Government to protect civilians ensure safe humanitarian access

Calling on the Liberian Government to do everything in its power to protect civilians, Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Carolyn McAskie denounced the recent attacks on IDPs as clear violations of international humanitarian law. “All parties to the conflict must ensure that attacks on civilians do not occur,” she said in a press release.The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported last week that four people had been killed and thousands forced to flee during attacks by armed groups on Jartondo and Wilson IDP camps – part of a disturbing trend of civilian targeting. Another IDP camp at Rick’s institute was attacked and looted in late March, forcing an estimated 25,000 people staying there to flee.Ms. McAskie said there is also growing concern that food distribution may be emerging as a target for armed groups. “The issue remains crucial, as it means humanitarian workers may be specifically targeted,” she added, noting at least two staff members from non-governmental organizations (NGO) were injured in last week’s IDP camp attacks. This trend highlights the UN’s continuing concern about the condition of more than 100 humanitarian staff who have not been heard from since late last month, when violence erupted around Zwedru, near the border with Côte d’Ivoire.Ms. McAskie also underscored the effect ongoing violence and looting have on humanitarian operations. The UN estimates that there are some 200,000 IDPs in Liberia, most of them in areas cut-off from assistance. Violence and unrest keep aid workers from reaching thousands of desperate people – especially in the northwest and eastern parts of the country – and the looting compounds shortages of non-food supplies such as tarpaulins, household items, and blankets. “Conditions should be created for humanitarian workers to safely access areas where people need help,” she said. read more