Grave Probe

November 23, 2010 (AFP) – Sri Lanka Tuesday began investigating a claim that Tamil Tiger rebels executed 26 captured government soldiers at the height of fighting between the two sides last year, an official said. Military spokesman Udaya Madawala said forensic experts and police investigators had been sent to the northeastern district of Mullaittivu Monday following reports of the grave.

Madawala said Tiger suspects had told investigators that the 26 prisoners were shot dead in the final stages of fighting, which finished in May last year.

“The information we have is that these security personnel were shot dead, cremated and their ashes were buried in a mass grave,” Madawala said. He said a judicial medical officer as well as other experts were also sent to the area.

Both sides have accused each other of war crimes, which they deny.

The United Nations and international rights groups reported that up to 30,000 people were killed in the final months of fighting, which ended with the defeat of the Tigers and their 37-year-old campaign for a Tamil homeland.