Extent of recent Sri Lanka carnage is revealed

By staff writers
May 22, 2009

The Sri Lankan government says that more than 6,200 security personnel were killed and almost 30,000 wounded in the final three years of the war with the Tamil Tigers. Independent analysts say many thousands of Tamils have died as well.

The Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, announced the figures on state TV - the first official statement of its kind. Critics immediately accused the authorities of talking up their own fatalities in order to push aside criticism of their own actions and the loss of innocent life in the so-called 'no-fire zone'.

It is believed that at least 80,000 people have been killed in the 26-year war between the Sinhala-majority government and Tamil separatists.

Churches and development agencies say that with the end of the war, there is a major peace-building task to be undertaken. Issues of the mistreatment and marginalisation of Tamils are still present and still causing anger and resentment.

Observers say that renewed violence in different forms remains a possibility unless social and political justice is restored.

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, arrives in Sri Lanka today (22 May 2009) to discuss the plight of some 275,000 internally displaced people.

The Sri Lankan government announced an end to the war this week, after its troops took the last segment of land held by the rebels. It says it has killed the top LTTE leadership, including its head, Velupillai Prabhakaran.

Protests by Tamils have continued across Europe. Militant campaigners for Tamil independence now say that they will reorganise outside the country.

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