A Thoughtful, Analytical Approach to NGO Security

Aid Worker Killed - Sri Lanka

I met the Rev Fr Nicholaspillai Packiyaranjith of the Jesuit Refugee Services while I was in Mannar district a few weeks ago. He struck me as a quiet, principled man, who was dedicated to his beliefs and service to others. Despite the difficult security situation in the area he continued to work hard to bring relief to the poorest and most vulnerable. In short he was the type of man I endeavour to be.

On the afternoon of 26 September 2007 while travelling towards Vellankulam in an LTTE controlled area of Mannar his vehicle was struck by a command detonated Claymore. Fr. Packiyaranjith was killed instantly. His driver was severely injured.

No one has accepted responsibility for this brutal and myopic act. Nor is anyone likely to. The government blames the LTTE. The LTTE blame the government.

Over the weekend the sheer senselessness of his death left me feeling frustrated and depressed. This morning however, I had a revelation. Fr. Packiyaranjith was the type who, if he had been given the choice, would have chosen to spend his last moments in his quest to help others.

Sri Lanka needs more like him.

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This work by Kevin Toomer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License.
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