Masked gunmen bring death to a Sri Lankan village

Standing left to right – Mr. Dinesh Jebamani (Chief Manager Liability Product Management and New Age Media – Seylan Bank), Mr.Sudesh Peiris (Senior Manager – Digital Banking Channels – Seylan Bank), Ms. S.Senevirathne (Representative of the Revenue Department – Western Province), Mr. Tilan Wijeyesekera (Deputy General Manager – Retail Banking – Seylan Bank) and Mr. Malik Wickremanayaka (Deputy General Manager – Operations – Seylan Bank)

SERUVILA, Sri Lanka, Apr. 27 (AFP) – The two men who came to kill her and her family wore masks and spoke Sinhalese, a wounded Josep Devi, wincing in pain, said from her hospital bed in this northeastern Sri Lankan town Thursday. “I managed to save my baby by rolling on her as I fell when a bullet hit me,” Devi, a Tamil speaker, told AFP through an interpreter.

She said she fell into a river after her legs were smashed by bullets from an automatic weapon that two men sprayed at her cowering group.

Her husband, brother and uncle — all farm workers — were less fortunate.

Their bloodied and bullet-ripped bodies, covered by yellow plastic sheeting, were moved from the hospital mortuary Thursday morning on a trailer drawn by a tractor.

Devi, both her legs crippled by bullets, was carried from her spartan hospital ward by relatives so she could be with anguished family members — many of whom collapsed and fainted in the heat — when police handed over the corpses.

The killings were the latest in a series of bloody attacks in the past few weeks blamed variously on Tamil Tiger rebels and army soldiers that have dramatically driven up tension between Tamil and Sinhalese communities in the Trincomalee area.