Sri Lanka’s most recently found mass grave contains bodies from mid 90s

Forensic archaeologists believe the bodies exhumed from the Kokkuthoduvai mass grave in Sri Lanka’s war-torn Vanni region to have been unceremoniously buried between 1994 and 1996.

This detail was provided to the Mullaitivu District Court today (22) by a committee headed by eminent forensic archaeologist Prof. Raj Somadeva.

In all body parts from 40 skeletons were recovered during the first two phases of excavation in the site, which was accidentally discovered while water supply pipelines were being laid along the Kokkuthoduvai-Kokkilai road.

"The interim report by Prof. Raj Somadeva has been submitted today (22). 40 body parts have been fully examined by the archeology team. They have been hurriedly buried without any religious rites & may have been buried between1994-96 during the war," Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) of Mullaitivu Kanagasabapathy Vasudeva told local journalists.

Lack of funds

The human remains are suspected to be that of the former LTTE cadres –mostly female. These body parts along with pieces of clothing including innerwear worn by women and identity tags were recovered during the excavation.

Further decision on the excavation will be made on the 4th of March during the next hearing of the case said V K Niranjan, Tamil lawyer representing the families of the missing persons.

“The next phase of the excavation of the body parts from the Kokkuthoduvai mass graves is likely to begin on the 4th of March, subject to the release of funds by the ministry. However, the age, sex, and reason for death are yet to be revealed"

However, details regarding the age, sex, and the possible cause of death are yet to be ascertained by the team. The report also says at least another two meters have to be excavated further as a scan done by radar scanning equipment showed bodies being buried in two layers.

Further forensic examination of the exhumed body parts is yet to continue due to shortage of funds, says Dr. Vasudeva.☐



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