278 skeletons found at Sri Lanka mass grave

2018-12-28 22:53
A human skull in a mass grave. (Kurdish Mass Graves Directorate via AP, File)

A human skull in a mass grave. (Kurdish Mass Graves Directorate via AP, File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Some 278 skeletons have been found at one of the biggest mass graves uncovered in Sri Lanka since the end of the country's civil war almost a decade ago, a top investigator said on Friday.

Dozens of women and children as well as men were buried at the site in Mannar where Tamil guerrillas fought security forces during the conflict, said Samindra Rajapakshe, senior judicial medical officer in the northern city.

The mass grave was uncovered in March by construction workers preparing to build a cooperative store.

"After 118 working days we have unearthed 278 skeletons which included the remains of men, women and children," said Rajapakshe.

More than 20 of the remains were of children.

Investigations continue

He added that further forensics examinations would be needed to establish causes of death, but said that some of the victims appeared to have been bound.

"Our task has been to gather evidence to determine the cause of death, time since death, contributing circumstances, and the specific identity of the individuals in this site," said Rajapakshe.

Mannar was a key battleground in Sri Lanka's four decade-long separatist conflict in which the Tamil Tigers waged a bloody war against government troops. The war ended in 2009 after a major military offensive.

A government appointed panel said in 2013 that about 19 000 people were missing since the conflict, including 5 000 troops.

The Office on Missing Persons (OMP) which started work this year on accounting for the missing and helping their families will pay for carbon dating on samples from the mass grave, OMP chairman Saliya Peiris said.

Six bone samples selected over the past week are to be sent abroad for radio carbon dating analysis to establish the approximate time of death of the victims.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    sri lanka

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


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.