Civilians burnt to death in Pesalai
[TamilNet, Sunday, 25 December 2005, 10:25 GMT]
Remains of burnt bodies including a four-year-old boy were discovered inside a house of the Victoria Hundred Houses resettlement in Pesalai Sunday at 10:30 a.m. by residents who reached the site for the first time following Friday's revenge attacks on the civilians by the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN). Soldiers blocked residents from searching for two other missing persons in parts of surrounding area. Three houses and a shop were burnt and almost all the houses were found looted. The victims were burnt using madras, kajan leaves and palmyrah stems, sources said. The exact number of victims killed in the revenge attacks is not known yet.
The SLN soldiers who entered the settlement Friday evening attacked the civilians wounding more than 30 persons.
Four persons of two neighbouring families, a 43 years-old couple, Mr Emmanuel Cruz and Mrs. Anthonicam Cruz, and Theresa Cruz, a mother and her four-year-old boy Dilakshan Cruz were trapped inside their houses, numbered 44 and 45, located on the right side of the road from Mannar to Talaimannar.
The house No. 45 was completely burnt down.
Remains of two feet, one of a young boy and another of an adult, a piece of sternum, and an elbow were recovered from the bedroom of house No 45.
The civilian settlers who reached the site with Rev. Fr. Wincent Parick from Victoria Church returned to the church and notified the Bishop and the matter was brought to the attention of the Police and the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM).
Two officials from the SLMM, the Bishop of Mannar Most Rev. Rayappu Joseph, Rev. Fr. Wincent Parick, the parish priest of the Victoria church together with Commadore Nihal Chandrasri, the commanding officer of the Mannar Naval Base in the Sunny Village visited the spot following the information from the civilians who returned from the site, sources said.
At 1:30 p.m., acting Magistrate of Mannar Mr. A. S. Johndasan, visited the spot and ordered the Mannar Police to conduct investigations into the killings.
Mannar Police HQ OIC Sugath Thasmadelle is heading the investigations.
Meanwhile, the SLN official Chandrasri said that the ambush site where at least 13 SLN personnel were killed was not cleared yet, and that was the reason for not allowing the civilians to enter the area to search for the missing civilians.
Additional SLN personnel and police were deployed in the area.
Number of families that have sought refuge at the Victoria Church has increased to 180 as 41 families who were displaced in Kavviyan settlement from Thullukudiyiruppu have also sought refuge at the church, sources added.