London: The Metropolitan Police have launched a probe into British mercenaries over their alleged involvement in the decades-long Sri Lankan civil war, a media report said on Monday.
According to the BBC report, Keenie Meenie Services (KMS), a private security company which has been implicated in a number of human rights abuses, had trained an elite unit of the Sri Lankan police called the Special Task Force (STF) in the 1980s to fight Tamil separatists.
The abuses included killings of Tamil civilians and executions without trial.
The report said that much of the proof concerning KMS’s involvement in Sri Lanka has come from declassified UK government documents and freedom of information requests submitted by journalist Phil Miller, whose book, “Keenie Meenie: The British Mercenaries Who Got Away With War Crimes”, was published in January.
The probe is believed to be the first time that British mercenaries have been investigated by the Met,
The BBC report quoted a police spokesperson as saying the Department had received a referral in March concerning allegations of the war crimes and following a “scoping exercise”, it had launched the investigation.
Although the KMS, founded by former Special Air Service officer David Walker, now no longer exists, he is currently one of the directors of a subsequent Kensington-based company, Saladin Security.
Meanwhile, Walker’s representative has denied KMS’s involvement in the Sri Lankan civil war.
“The allegations that David Walker or staff of KMS Limited were complicit in war crimes in Sri Lanka in the mid-1980s is categorically denied,” the BBC reported quoted the representative as saying
The Sri Lankan Army defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels in May 2009 after 26 years of the bloody war.
The fighting killed an estimated 100,000 people and left about 20,000 missing.