Ex-SLA soldiers urged to help solve disappeared cases

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 23 August 2005, 05:31 GMT]
The North East Secretariat on Human Rights has appealed to ex-Sri Lankan military officials living overseas to come forward to help solve the cases of over 70 Tamil youths who were disappeared in the 1990s in Mandaithivu-Alappiddy-Mankumban areas, according to an interim report obtained by TamilNet's Kilinochchi correspondent.

"We would also like to hear from anyone who was involved in any of the inquiries relating to this disappearance. We also appeal to any Sri Lankan military personnel now living overseas who would like to tell us about the truth behind the disappearances," the NESOHR report said.

Around 500 young men were then taken away by the Sri Lankan Army from the Philipneri's church in Allaipiddy on 25th August 1990. Most of them were later released slowly but around 25 of the men who were taken are yet to be released.

This was repeated again on the 23rd of September 1990 in the Mankumban village where the SLA soldiers took more men from the school and temples where people took refuge, the report said. “When the army left the M-A-M villages, a total of around 70 young men taken like this have disappeared,” the report indicated.

“Given that there were only about 800 families living in these three villages the impact of the incident on the villagers is substantial. The above two dates, especially, are engraved deeply in the psyche of these three villagers because most of these young men were taken away on these two days,” the report added.

Of the 39 families inquired by the report, a total 48 people have disappeared. Statistics from the report show that more than one family member has disappeared from eight families. From one family, three members were disappeared.

According to the report, several wells in Mandaithivu, one of the M-A-M villages, hold 100 to 200 bodies but none of which has been subjected to thorough forensic examination. These wells are now in the high security zones of the military and some of the wells hold bodies of LTTE cadres and civilians, the report indicated. The Red Cross with assistance from University of Jaffna initiated some excavations in 1991 but these have not been completed, the report further said.

The report also called on family members of the disappeared people and any others with knowledge or involved in any of the inquiries relating this disappearance to come forward.

A complete report will be complied once the investigations are completed in a about a month time, according to NESOHR officials.

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