Missing: The Hundreds Of Ltte Fighters Who Surrendered!

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Tamils marching in London enact the horrors facing those interned in the Chettikulam concentration camp by the Sri Lankan army
Tamils marching in London enact the horrors facing those interned in the Chettikulam concentration camp by the Sri Lankan army

TAMIL NET reports that Ananthi Sasitharan, wife of Elilan, former Trincomalee political head of the LTTE, has told BBC Tamil service that she and her three daughters witnessed her husband and hundreds of other LTTE members surrendering to the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers on 18th May 2009.

This was after the war has come to an end.

‘I have been trying to trace my husband and have not been successful in locating his whereabouts.

‘I have no doubt that Sri Lanka’s president knows where my husband and others who surrendered are being held,’ she told the BBC.

‘If my husband has disappeared during the war, then there will be reason to think that he may have been killed during the heat of the battle, but having seen him surrender after the fighting has stopped, there is absolutely no reason for me to believe that he is dead,’ Ananthi told the BBC.

When asked if she did not fear for her life from the Sri Lanka Government after talking candidly before Sri Lanka’s commission, Ananthi said, she has never been afraid of death, and that her resolve to live has long disappeared.

She added that she will continue to her efforts to find her husband.

She further said that, while her three daughters were psychologically scarred from seeing death and destruction, she is managing to bring them up as best as she can from the income from her employment.

The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) acting on instructions from Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, has been accused of killing LTTE military and political members who surrendered to the SLA during the final phases of the war.

While, Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Sarath Fonseka, earlier in a newspaper interview implicated Colombo for giving orders to shoot dead surrendees, Tamils Against Genocide (TAG), a US-based activist group, disclosed in June that TAG has obtained, from a senior commander of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) who had fled Sri Lanka, a sworn affidavit which contains ‘clear and convincing evidence’ that Colombo committed war crimes, and provided ‘details of people involved in the torture and killing of LTTE leader Prabakharan’s 12-year old son, and his five body guards who surrendered to the SLA during May 2009.’

On September 16, BBC Sinhala, also broke a story citing Nanda Godage, the former Sri Lankan ambassador to EU, who witnessed in front of the LLRC saying that there were at least two thousand Tamil youth, apart from the thousands of Tamil youth from Vanni held in detention, are being held in custody without any charges being brought against them.

Mr Godage was cited by the BBC as saying that the Sri Lankan state was in danger of ‘breeding many more Prabakharans’.

Two days later, on September 18, the BBC reported that it has been blocked from covering the public hearing by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) in Vanni.

Only fifteen of nearly four hundred persons, most of them women, were allowed to witness before Sri Lanka’s Commission LLRC in Mullaiththeevu Government Secretariat last Monday while the others were driven away, sources in Mullaiththeevu said.

The women had come with the hope of getting information about their husbands, sons and daughters who had disappeared without trace after surrendering themselves to the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) in the final days of the war in Vanni.

Denied of the opportunity to be a witness before the Commission and their experience from futile attempts to give evidence in the past they said they had no faith in the Commission.

They called it a hoax staged by Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse to deceive them and the world.

During the last three days the LLRC recorded the statements of war affected persons in Vanni district first at Ki’linochchi town and later in Ka’ndaava’lai in Ki’linochchi district before conducting its affairs in Mullaiththeevu on Monday.

A woman witnessing before the Commission in Ka’ndaava’lai said that she had seen the Liberation Tiger combatants who had surrendered themselves to SLA being taken away in sixteen buses on the final day of the war.

The parents and women in Vanni whose children and husbands had disappeared without trace after surrendering themselves to the SLA have been pleading with Sri Lanka government top authorities visiting Vanni to help learn what had happened to the disappeared, without any comforting results.

Meanwhile, the LLRC officials visited Puthumaaththa’lan in Mullaiththeevu district Monday.

• A Container of dynamite parked in Vaazhaichcheanai police station located in a densely populated area poses a similar threat to people’s lives as did the dynamite that exploded in Karadiyan-aa’ru police station September 17 claiming many lives, sources in Batticaloa said.

Sri Lankan police, who had occupied the buildings of Liberation Tigers during the war to escape Tiger attacks, continue to use them as police stations where containers of dynamite are usually stored.

Meanwhile, many hundreds of bodies of persons killed in the Karadiyan-aa’ru explosion were found lying after the blast occurred, eye witnesses said.

They had seen a large number of injured and killed policemen being swiftly removed through Makaa Oyaa to Sinhala areas.

The State-run China Overseas Holdings Limited company is engaged in constructing highways in Batticaloa district including those from Kalmunai to Batticaloa and the highway connecting Vaazhaichcheanai, Verukal, Badulla and Kalladi Bridge with Batticaloa town.

Two Chinese engineers among the victims killed were taken to the place where the dynamite was stored by two Chinese men and by four employees of Illuppaiyadi and Veappaveddavaan Divisional Secretariat including drivers.

The Chinese company constructing highways in Sri Lanka, blasts away granite rocks at some places using dynamite.

The hospital building located 200m from Karadiyan-aa’ru police station and Karadiyan-aa’ru Makaa Viththiyaalayam school buildings 400m from it were affected by the explosion.

The Liberation Tigers political head had used the building in Karadiyan-aa’ru now occupied by Sri Lanka police as a public relations office.

Sri Lankan Army, Special Task Forces and the police are occupying similar buildings in the Paduvaankarai area in Batticaloa district.