Sandra Macharia, communications specialist for the Asia and the Pacific region, told The Sunday Leader that the UNDP had seen the article reported in the Associated Press but they have not received an official report from the UNDP office in Colombo on the matter.
“We are aware of this news report having seen it reported in AP, however, we have not received any official communication from the Colombo office”, she said. When further questioned on the matter, Macharia responded that enquiries must be directed to the Colombo office.
When The Sunday Leader contacted Lakshman Hulugalle, Director General of the media centre for National Security, he described the report as being, “totally fabricated information.” He explained that the UN had not officially notified the government regarding these allegations, and called on them to do so if they had any evidence.
TNA leader R. Sampanthan meanwhile explained that they were aware of such a report but had not seen any official confirmation from the UNDP. “If the UNDP has said they have found a cluster bomb, then there is no doubt that they have found them. It is unlikely that they would fabricate such a story,” he added.
Sampanthan further added that allegations of the use of cluster bombs is nothing new, stating that similar accusations arose during the war. Asked if the TNA would be discussing this issue with the government, he responded that no decision had been taken but they would be considering it.
On Thursday (26) a news report appeared in the Associated Press which quoted an email from Allan Poston claiming to have found unexploded cluster bombs in the Puthukudiyiruppu area of the Northern Province.
According to the report the bombs had been found in the same area where a boy was killed last month and his sister was injured while trying to pry apart an explosive device. “After reviewing additional photographs from the investigations teams, I have determined that there are cluster sub-munitions in the area”, the report further quoted.
When Poston was contacted he declined to comment and redirected all enquires to the head office however the UNDP Country Director Douglas Keh was unavailable for a comment.