Skeletal remains with shackled legs exhumed in Mannaar mass grave

[TamilNet, Thursday, 06 December 2018, 23:31 GMT]
Skeletal remains of legs belonging to two different victims were found locked together into a single iron shackle at Mannaar mass grave on Thursday, eyewitnesses in Mannaar told TamilNet. The excavation continued amidst rains for the 112th day and bone remains of 266 different victims, believed to be slain by the SL military during the times of war, have been discovered so far, and 260 of these have been exhumed and boxed for forensic investigations. The legal activists witnessing the excavation fear that Colombo and its justice system would never subject the remains to forensic analyses with an independent international third party. A female ring was also discovered this week at the mass grave site, which is located at the premises of Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (Sathosa) at the entrance to Mannaar city. Since 1990, and until recently, the premises was under SL military control.

Mannaar massgrave: legs with shackle


The CWE premises is located just across the Cooperative Secretariat Building at the entrance to Mannaar island on A14 highway.

The Co-op Secretariat is a two-storey building which was used by the occupying Sinhala military for 30 years. It was only handed over back to civil authorities on 05 November 2018 by the SLA Commander

The sub-posts of two SL Army brigades, the 212 Brigade, which has its headquarters in Tha'l'laadi and the 215 Brigade headquartered in Uyilang-ku'lam along with a special intelligence squad were located in the building.

Any civilian observed near the vicinity in the early 1990s were gunned down by the Sinhala soldiers, and the area remained as a high-security military zone for several years.

Tha'l'laadi and Uyilang-ku'lam are situated in the mainland.

Location of CWE building
The victims of Mannaar CWE/Sathosa massgrave are believed to be Tamil civilians who tried to escape to Tamil Nadu in India during the times of war. They were allegedly massacred by the occupying Sinhala Army's SLA Brigades 512 and 528 which had their sub-posts along with an intelligence squad stationed at the Cooperative Society building across the Cooperative Wholesale Establishment building on A14 entrance to Mannaar island. [Satellite image courtesy: Google Earth]


A similar mass grave with 87 human skeletons was exhumed at Thirukkeatheesvaram in Mannaar mainland four years ago.

Both the mass graves are situated in former SL military zones, and there are clear signs of torture and gunshot injuries of victims including children and women.

The occupying Colombo, its Criminal Investigation Division as well as the Attorney General's Department have been dragging their feet concerning the forensic and DNA analyses with a reliable international lab, which the Tamil lawyers representing the enforced disappeared Tamils in Mannaar have been demanding for a long time.

The state actors claiming to represent the international community, now shedding crocodile tears on Colombo's Justice system and its rotten unitary constitution, have never voiced for international investigations on the killing fields in Mannaar.

The mass grave sites found at Thirukkeatheeswaran and the one discovered at the CWE premises are believed to be from the 1990s when the SL military stepped up large-scale torture and massacre under the regime of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.

Ms Kumratunga, who is currently the chairperson of Colombo's so-called ‘Office for National Unity and Reconciliation’, has also remained tight-lipped on the matter.

CWE area close-up
[Satellite map courtesy: Google Earth]
Massacre site
The location of massacre site and the former military post (1990-2018) [Satellite map courtesy: Google Earth. Legend by TamilNet]
Coop Secretariat building
Coop Secretariat building [Photo courtesy: Google Earth]
SLA soldiers at Co-op Secretariat, Mannaar
Occupying SLA soldiers of Mannaar 54 Brigade photographed at the Cooperative Secretariat building on 05 November 2018 when the building was handed over to Cooperative Society officials [Photo courtesy: Madawa Kulasooriya / Sri Lanka Mirror]


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