More skeletal remains surface in Sri Lanka’s former war zone

Skeletal remains including at least one human skull had been unearthed in an area struck by heavy shelling during the final stages of Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war that ended ten years ago.

Judicial medical officers tasked with digging out the bones have also found fragments of ropes and a metal amulet typically worn around the neck or waist.

The suspected informal grave was discovered on 20 October by a resident of Suthanthirampuram in the northeastern district of Mullaitivu.

He had first noticed bones when moving soil from one place to another.

So far, excavations have been conducted for three days under instructions from Mullaitivu District Judge S Leninkumar.

Mullaitivu Judicial Medical Officer Dr Elankovan has sought court permission for further investigations.

Commissioner of the Office on Missing persons Mirak Raheem had also been present at the site.

"No Fire Zone"

During the final stages of war in 2009, Suthanthirapuram was within a government designated "No Fire Zone" - 7km long and 4km wide - packed with civillians, which came under constant bombardment by heavy weapons.

"According to information received by Amnesty International, 48 people were killed and 174 injured during heavy shelling on 6 February. Mahtalan, Thevipuram, Suthantirapuram, Moongilaru, Udayarhaddu and Vallipunam were shelled all day," reported Amnesty International on 10 February 2009.

Local residents fear that the newly discovered Suthanthirapuram site with human remains could be a crime scene.

Forensic experts investigating Sri Lanka's largest mass grave discovered in the war torn northwestern district of Mannar in May 2008 have unearthed more than 300 bodies including 30 of children.☐



Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

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