Prayers offered for Caritas workers killed in Sri Lanka

Caritas Australia yesterday offered prayers for seven people killed in a landmine attack, including two Caritas workers, in the Sri Lankan city of Jaffna.

Prayers were also offered for two people injured in the attack.

"We deeply regret the loss of your two staff and are quite concerned about the well being of those injured," said Mr Jack de Groot, in a letter sent yesterday to Fr Jeyakumar, Director of Caritas, Jaffna.

"We assure you, your colleagues and the families of the bereaved will be in our prayers at this difficult moment and hope all of you have the strength and courage to bear the loss and continue with the great work you have been carrying on over the years for the less privileged communities," Mr de Groot said in the letter.

The two Caritas workers, Shanmugaratnam Pathmanathan and Chelvendra Pradeepkumar, were travelling by road from Kilinochchi when they passed a Sri Lanka Army truck travelling in the opposite direction.

A claymore mine attached to a bicycle was detonated, killing five soldiers in the army vehicle and also the two aid workers, said Caritas Jaffna. Two other Caritas staff were also injured in the attack.

The two injured staff, M Thatparanathan and M Ajanthan are now out of danger and one will be undergoing surgery today to remove shrapnel in the head.

A for the Sri Lankan army said that Sri Lanka's independence rebel group, the Tamil Tigers, are suspected to be behind the attack. However, a Tamil Tiger spokesman denied being involved and condemned the attacks.

The attack was one of the worst since the two sides agreed in January 2006 to hold their first direct talks since 2003.

Caritas Sri Lanka staff said that Pradeepkumar will be remembered as a man with a smile that "used to light up every morning", a man with the talent to bring positive energy and passion to his work and that Pathmanathan will be remembered for his dedication to children, his good humour and effervescent personality.

Caritas Australia offers prayers for Caritas workers killed in Sri Lanka (Caritas Australia 11/4/06)
Sri Lankan aid workers killed in mine attack (Independent Catholic News 11/4/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Caritas Australia
Caritas Sri Lanka

Lanka mine kills 5 soldiers, 2 aid workers (Monsters and Critics/United Press International 11/4/06)
S.Lanka tense after pre-talks ambush (Reuters 11/4/06)
Caritas Aid Workers Killed in Mine Attack (Reuters 11/4/06)
Mine kills two Caritas workers (AsiaNews.it 11/4/06)
Church agency highlights killing of aid workers in Sri Lanka (Ekklesia 11/4/06)
Jaffna, two Caritas workers killed (Missionary Service News Agency 11/4/06)
Modern-day Slavery in Lebanon (Caritas Internationalis 10/4/06)
Caritas helps Pakistani Kashmir quake victims return home (AsiaNews.it 6/4/06)
Caritas Aiding Iran's Quake Victims (Zenit 4/4/06)
Dozens Feared Dead in Iran Earthquake (Caritas Internationalis 31/3/06)
Caritas Brings Immediate Aid to Iran's Earthquake Victims (Caritas Internationalis 3/4/06)

12 Apr 2006