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DATE=8/30/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=LANKA / GRAVES (L ONLY) NUMBER=2-253266 BYLINE=VANDANA CHOPRA DATELINE=COLOMBO INTERNET=YES CONTENT= VOICED AT: 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 report. The Tamil Tiger guerrillas have been fighting for a separate homeland for minority Tamils in Sri Lanka's north and east since 1983. (Signed) NEB/VC/KL 30-Aug-1999 18:06 PM LOC (30-Aug-1999 2206 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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