Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Bodies in Sri Lanka mass grave top 80

25 February 2014, 16:22

Colombo - Forensic experts have found more bodies in an unmarked mass grave in Sri Lanka's northern former war zone, taking the total number to 80, an official said on Tuesday.

Judicial medical officer Dhananjaya Waidyaratne said excavations resumed on Monday after a short break at the grave site discovered by construction workers in December.

The grave is the first uncovered in the former war zone since troops defeated Tamil rebels nearly five years ago following a decades-long conflict for a separate homeland for ethnic minority Tamils.

"We found more skeletons yesterday and the figure now stands at 80," Waidyaratne told reporters, up from a previously released figure of 36. "We have submitted the evidence to [the] courts," he added.

He said further tests were needed to establish how and when the people died but officials have previously said that women and children were among those buried.

The government sought to head off concerns that Sri Lankan soldiers could have been involved in the grave, saying the Mannar area had long been a Tamil rebel stronghold.

"It has been revealed that the area had been occupied by the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) for 30 years," till security forces wrested control over the area in 2008, the government said.

"The matter is under investigation," the government said in a statement to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva last week and released to reporters in Colombo on Tuesday.

It added that Indian troops deployed on an abortive peace-keeping mission in Sri Lanka between 1987 and 1990 also briefly had control over the coastal Mannar region.

Police have not yet been able to identify the remains.

But the Roman Catholic Bishop of Mannar, Rayappu Joseph, said last month that the victims could be members of the local Tamil community.

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 UN estimates the war claimed at least 100 000 lives.

Last year, construction workers stumbled on another mass grave in central Sri Lanka, hundreds of kilometres from the conflict zone.

At least 154 people were found in that grave in Matale district, the scene of an anti-government uprising between 1987 and 1990 unrelated to the Tamil separatist conflict.

Remains from that grave have been sent to China for further tests.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...