Cluster bombs used in Sri Lanka's civil war, leaked photos suggest

A former employee of an international de-mining group has provided photographic evidence confirming the banned cluster bombs were found inside the Sri Lankan government designated 'no fire zone' in the north of the island, reveals The Guardian newspaper.

"In communications with the Guardian, a spokesperson for the Halo Trust acknowledged it had found a total of 42 cluster munitions in several sites around the Pachchilapalli area, near Elephant pass, slightly to the north of the Vanni region, in 2011 and 2012," the newspaper said.

The report written by Emanuel Stoakes states that "the revelations are likely to prompt serious questions for the current Sri Lankan government, which includes several senior members of the cabinet who oversaw army activity during the last days of the conflict.

"The photographic evidence provided to the Guardian depicts cluster bombs uncovered by de-mining teams in parts of the country close to sites where fighting took place in late 2008 and early 2009.

"The material is accompanied by the testimony of former de-miners, some of whom claim they identified munitions within government-declared “no fire zones” in which about 300,000 people were told to gather for their safety during the war’s denouement.

"The Sri Lankan civil war, which lasted from 1983 to 2009, pitted the country’s military against the separatist rebel force known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) which had waged an armed campaign to achieve an independent state for the ethnic Tamil community in the north and east of the island nation.

"The bloody conflict is estimated to have claimed upwards of more than 100,000 lives, many of them in the final months of fighting which occurred in and around the northern Vanni region."

Click here to read the full report


Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

  • JDS is the Sri Lankan partner organization of international media rights group, Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The launching of this website was made possible by the EU’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), of which Reporters Without Borders is a beneficiary.