Friday, December 04, 2009

Sri Lanka group counts war casualties

The first results from a Sri Lankan group documenting casualties from the final months of the country's civil war indicate that at least 2,500 men, women and children disappeared during that time and some are feared dead.

The Committee for Investigation of the Disappeared is interviewing civilians from the war zone to determine the full extent of damage suffered by civilians as the military made its push to wrap up the 25-year war earlier this year.

The group said today that it has so far collected from relatives the details of 2,500 people who disappeared. Some of those are believed to have been killed before the end of the war in May.

According to UN reports, more than 7,000 civilians were killed from January to May alone, but the full extent of damage to civilians is unknown because the government barred aid groups and independent journalists from the war zone.

Vikramabahu Karunaratne, an official with the committee, said that the details collected will be sent to the UN requesting action, and compensation will be sought for the victims.

The committee found 121 of the disappeared persons were under 16 years old, including a 3 year old. Another 99 people disappeared while in hospitals receiving treatment for injuries.


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