Sri Lanka mass grave count hits 36

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  1. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Long walk Elite Member

    Feb 21, 2012
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    Inside a Cage
    Sri Lanka mass grave count hits 36

    Forensic experts have discovered more bodies in an unmarked mass grave in Sri Lanka's former war zone, raising the total to 36, an official said Friday.

    A team led by judicial medical officer Dhananjaya Waidyaratne found four more skeletons on Thursday in the first mass grave uncovered since troops defeated Tamil rebels nearly five years ago.

    "The bodies have been buried in several layers," Waidyaratne told the BBC's Sinhala Service at the northern district of Mannar, where the grave was found.

    A local magistrate ordered further digging after road construction workers stumbled on a skeleton while laying a water pipeline on December 21. Ten skeletons were found initially.

    "It is difficult to place a time of death or a cause of death without further scientific tests," he said, adding 36 skeletons had been found in the mass grave.

    Women and children were among those buried, he added.

    Police have not yet been able to identify the remains.

    But the Roman Catholic Bishop of Mannar, Rayappu Joseph, said the victims could be members of the minority ethnic Tamil community in the area, 312 kilometres (195 miles) north of the capital Colombo.

    Mannar has a large concentration of Tamils, and was the scene of many battles between troops and Tamil rebels during the island's 37-year-old separatist war, which ended in May 2009.

    "The general feeling among the people in the area is that these (victims) are Tamils," the bishop told AFP by telephone. "I am asking for an independent investigation to establish how these people died and when."

    Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said a judicial inquiry was underway into the mass grave.

    It is the first time that evidence of a mass grave has emerged in the former war zone since troops declared victory over separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas in 2009.

    Both government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels have been accused of killing civilians during the 37-year separatist war.

    Sri Lanka has denied allegations that its troops killed up to 40,000 civilians in the final months of fighting.

    Earlier last year, construction workers stumbled on another mass grave in central Sri Lanka, hundreds of kilometres (miles) from the conflict zone.

    At least 154 people had been buried in that grave at the central district of Matale, a hotbed of an anti-government uprising between 1987 and 1990.

    Local forensic experts said it dated back to a period when the then-government led a crackdown on leftist Sinhalese rebels. Sri Lanka has sent the skeletal remains for further tests in China.

    That insurgency was unrelated to the separatist campaign in the north and east by Tamil rebels.

    The UN has estimated that at least 100,000 people were killed in Sri Lanka?s Tamil separatist war.

    AFP: Sri Lanka mass grave count hits 36
  3. HeinzGud

    HeinzGud Senior Member Senior Member

    Nov 26, 2011
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    Colombo, Sri Lanka

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