Sri Lanka police say mass grave found

Jan 24, 2008 (AFP) – The bodies of at least 16 people have been found in a mass grave in a government-controlled area of north-central Sri Lanka, police said Thursday. The decomposed bodies were found by local residents in the district of Anuradhapura, 206 kilometres (130 miles) north of Colombo, police said.

“Investigations have now begun to establish the identity of the victims and the circumstances in which they were buried,” police said.

Local residents alerted a magistrate to at least one body that was found in the area.

But when police visited the site, they discovered another 15 bodies in two adjoining graves.

Similar mass graves have been found in the past in Sri Lanka’s embattled northern regions, where the government is fighting Tamil Tiger guerrillas.

Several people killed execution-style were also found in and around the capital last year, prompting the United Nations to demand it be allowed to set up a mission on the island to monitor human rights.

The Sri Lankan government angrily rejected the demand. .