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Jan-23-2014 17:54printcomments

Mannaar Killing Reaches 43, But the Depth of the Killings Had Not Been Fully Fathomed

On 22 January, when the exhumation continued for the 11th time, 3 skeletons were recovered. (GRAPHIC PHOTOS)

Tamil mass grave site in Manaar, Sri Lanka
Photos: TamilNet

(MANNAAR, Sri Lanka) - The Mannaar killing had been carefully hidden away from public. The truth is now revealed, probably after six or seven years. The international independent investigation into war crimes in Mullivaaikkal should also include Mannaar killings.

Exhumation of mass grave in Mannaar

TamilNet reported that 43 human skeletons have been recovered till 22 January 2012 at Thirukkeatheesvaram mass grave in Mannaar, news sources in Mannaar said. The boundaries of the mass grave are yet to be established, according to the Judicial Medical Officer (JMO)from Anuradhapura D. M. Waidyaratne. The JMO has also gone on record stating that it would take long time to establish how the killings had occurred.

On 22 January, when the exhumation continued for the 11th time, 3 skeletons were recovered.

There have been almost no belongings of the victims found in the mass grave so far, making it further difficult to identify the victims. Mr Sinthathurai, the secretary of Mannaar Citizen Committee said he believed many of the civilians reported missing in Mannaar had been massacred and dumped at Thirukkeatheesvaram mass grave.

The Secretary of Thirukkeatheesvaram temple management board, Mr Ambalavanar Thirunavukkarasu said that the Sri Lankan and Indian military were behind several rounds of search operations between 1985 and 1990 in the said area. The LTTE was coming and going to the village till 1990. The area was under SL military control from 1990.

On 9 June 2006 Tamil Net reported and produced following gruesome pictures. Sri Lanka Army raped and murdered Tamils in Tamil Eelam frequently. This time it happened in Vankalai, Mannaar. A whole family was wiped out

SLA soldiers armed with bayonets and knives entered the house of a family of four and slaughtered 35-year-old father, 27-year-old mother, 9-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son in Vankalai, 12 km southeast of Mannaar. Eyewitnesses in the area, Thomaspuri Ward No 10 in Vankalai, have told Mannaar Additional Magistrate that they could identify the soldiers involved in the massacre. Villagers alleged the mother was raped before the massacre. Tension prevails in Vankalai. Religious leaders including the Bishop of Mannaar, parliamentarians and civil society members in Mannaar have rushed to site. Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission officials have visited the massacre site.

It was reported at that time, the problem arose when the army demanded that they wanted to occupy the house to accommodate the soldiers. The owners responded that the house did not belong to them and they were merely occupying the house. The soldiers went back, but when they returned the massacre occurred.

The victims killed were: Mary Medaline (Chitra), 27, the mother, Moorthy Martin, 35, the father, Ann Nilxon, 7, the son and Ann Luxica, 9, the daughter. Martin was a carpenter by profession.  Soldiers have also used the carpenter tools to kill the victims. Bootprints and a military badge with star were found at the massacre site. Bodies were discovered by fellow residents of the area, around 5.30 a.m., Friday morning, police sources said.  The family, once displaced as refugees in India, had returned during the Ceasefire and resettled in the village, the residents said.  Mannaar Additional Magistrate T.J. Prabakaran visited the massacre site and ordered the Police to carry out investigations into the massacre. Villagers from Thomaspuri, Sukanthapuri and Bastipuri have started to flee from their villages.

Coming back to Thirukeatheesvaram, TamilNet reported on 30 December 2013 that Colombo's police officials in Mannaar have said that the skeletons recovered at the mass grave at Thirukkeatheesvaram were being dispatched to China for forensic examinations. Responding, legal sources in Mannaar wanted to know the motive of Colombo using China for DNA testing of the skeletons discovered at the mass grave and questioned the fate of similar cases earlier sent to China for ‘forensic examinations’. In 2009, China had allegedly provided Colombo with ‘movable crematory vehicles’ to get rid of the dead bodies of the victims in Vanni. Tamil activists urged the alternative world to assist the nation of Eelam Tamils to undertake forensic examinations in future in a credible and independent manner. 

None of the forensic examinations, supposed to be carried out by Colombo with foreign assistance since the discovery of Chemma'ni mass graves in Jaffna since 1998, has been helpful in the investigations. Rt. Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph, the Catholic Bishop of Mannaar, has also called for international investigations to be conducted on the mass grave located in Thirukkeatheesvaram as Sri Lanka has systematically failed to carry out any investigations on similar findings in the past.

In 2001, a number of civilians from Paappaa-moaddai were been reported missing when SL military deployed in Rana Gosha military operation advanced into Mannaar. At least 40 people from Paappaa-moaddai were reported missing in May-June 2001.
At the same time, civilians trying to reach Mannaar from Vanni were also captured by the SL military and a lot of them are still reported missing.



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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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