TITLE=LANKA / GRAVES (L ONLY)
INTRO: A Sri Lankan soldier convicted last year of
the rape and murder of a Tamil schoolgirl has
identified six new burial sites which he says contain
the bodies of Tamil youth who dissapeared in the
northern Jaffna peninsula after the military took
control of the area in 1995. Vandana Chopra has the
details from Colombo.
TEXT: Former Lance Corporal Somaratne Rajapakse told
a court in northern Jaffna about the new burial sites,
and he also named the soldiers he said were
responsible for the alleged killings of Tamil youth.
The sites were identified by Rajapakse months after he
made a similar statement about an area near the
village of Chemmani where officials later recovered
two male skeletons; the hands of one were tied with
rope and the other was blindfolded.
Relatives were able to identify the skeletons as those
of two Tamil youths who had disappeared after the
military pushed Tamil Tiger rebels out of Jaffna.
Forensic experts examined the bodies and said the two
had been been assaulted and killed.
The state counsel on Monday said the court will
withhold further information until more graves are
identified by four other soldiers who were sentenced
to death last year along with Rajapakse.
The soldiers were convicted of the rape and murder of
a Tamil schoolgirl and three others who went searching
for her at a military checkpoint in Jaffna.
Rajapakse told a Colombo court last year that he could
identify alleged mass graves where bodies of some 300
Tamils were buried by military officials. The human
rights group Amnesty International says close to 600
people dissapeared in Jaffna after security forces
took control of the peninsula.
The soldier's allegation and Amnesty's report created
a furor among Tamil political parties which pressured
the government to conduct an investigation into the
The Tamil Tiger guerrillas have been fighting for a
separate homeland for minority Tamils in Sri Lanka's
north and east since 1983. (Signed)
30-Aug-1999 18:06 PM LOC (30-Aug-1999 2206 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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