Five family members massacred in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, May 19, 2007 (AFP) – Five family members, including two boys aged four and eight, were hacked to death on Saturday in a town just outside the Sri Lankan capital in what police said may have been a family feud. Unidentified attackers killed K. W. Tillakaratne, 36, his wife, their two children and the children’s aunt at Delgoda, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) northeast of here, police said.

“It is difficult to imagine that anyone can kill children like this,” a crime scene police officer told reporters.

“We are trying to establish a motive. It is most likely some sort of a deep family feud.”

Delays in court hearings and cases dragging on for generations have often led to litigants killing each other in a country where more than 60,000 people have been killed in a Tamil separatist conflict in the island’s northeast that began in 1972.

Officials say the deployment of police for security duties has strained regular policing, affecting the maintenance of law and order in the rest of the island. Saturday’s killing came two weeks after a similar massacre of a mother and three children in the same region, police said.

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