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Attack on Sri Lanka cricket team
condemned by NCC general secretary

New York, March 5, 2009 -- The General Secretary of the National Council of Churches has condemned the Tuesday morning attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team in Lahore, Pakistan.

Six police officers were killed and six cricket team members were wounded in the well-orchestrated assault that took place at 9 a.m. as the team was on a bus en route to the third day of a match.

"The National Council of Churches along all persons of good will and good sense condemn this mindless brutality," said the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon from Seoul, Korea, where he and NCC President Vicken Aykazian are meeting with church leaders.

As of Wednesday morning, U.S. security officials said it was too early to identify the group that carried out the attack and it was unclear whether it was directly related to the 25-year-old conflict between the Sri Lanka government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), or to outside efforts to destabilize the Pakistan government.

"The Council is well aware of the political turmoil taking place in Sri Lanka and Pakistan," Kinnamon said, "but history has made it quite clear that these situations will not be resolved by acts of violence. In  no way does it justify murderous attacks on innocent people."

Earlier, Kinnamon called upon Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to use her good offices to help end the violence in Sri Lanka.

"The National Council of Churches takes no side in Sri Lanka except for the innocents who are trapped in the crossfire," he said. "Regardless of the merits of issues on one side or the other, the violence and suffering in Sri Lanka has been a deep concern for all observers," Kinnamon said. "The tragedy of the situation is beyond measure and the pain and misery is a daily reality."


NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 646-853-4212 (cell) , pjenks@ncccusa.org

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