Largest mass grave in Sri Lanka confirmed as a crime scene

By Kithsiri Wijesinghe

Confirming the worst fears of many Tamils whose loved ones have disappeared, investigators have declared Sri Lanka’s largest mass grave as a scene of a crime.

Excavations in the Mannar SATHOSA mass burial site have revealed nearly 300 bodies in ongoing excavations.


“By now we have identified 280 skeletons,” lead forensic investigator Saminda Rajapaksha told journalists on Wednesday.

“This is a crime scene. We are adhering to the crime scene investigations.”

Signs of torture

Earlier, investigators had unearthed bones with apparent signs of torture. Some had deep lacerations and at least two were bound together.

Bone samples representative of the whole site will be sent for carbon dating, said Dr Rajapaksha.

The Office of Missing Persons (OMP), lawyers and relatives of disappeared will be represented during the selection process of bone samples.

The second largest mass grave in Sri Lanka that contained 154 bodies was also identified as a crime scene by experts. However, investigations were abandoned in 2015 due to disputed carbon dating results from Beta Analatic Laboratory in Florida, USA. 

Samples from the Mannar mass grave will also be sent to the same laboratory.☐



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