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Dreaded Sri Lanka military death squads, reappear in Vavuniya...
"The dreaded white vans, the hallmark of military death squads, have reappeared in Vavuniya, causing panic among the people. The Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission (HRC) received complaints that P Sureshini and K Govindaraj were abducted in mid-March by unidentified persons in white vans. T Rathika and P Sivarasa were taken away from Sastrikoolankulam refugee camp. The Army initially denied their arrest. But three of the abducted were later released from military camps. The fate of K Govindaraj remains unknown.
HRCís Vavuniya co-ordinator S Sritharan says legal requirements such as issuing receipts and informing relatives and the HRC within 48 hours of arrest, are not observed by the security forces. S Balachandran, 29, of Pandaraikulam, who went to Vavuniya police station on 3 March to renew his resident permit has disappeared. Sastrikoolankulam resident M Selvakumar, 33, is missing since 7 March. Volunteer teacher, V Mayurathan, 23, was arrested in Vavuniya town on 8 March. The Army has denied his detention.
In Vanniís Kilinochchi area, three skeletal remains were discovered in a shallow grave on 21 March. Forty two other skeletal remains have so far been found, most of them in Ratnapuram and Uruthirapuram. Local people believe that these are remains of civilians who visited their homes when the area was under Army control. The LTTE recaptured Kilinochchi in September 1998 in Operation Oyatha Alaigal II (Unceasing Waves). Reports say 243 people disappeared in the area during Army control. Observers urge the new HRC, appointed on 23 March and led by Faisz Musthapha, to use its wide powers and take effective measures against human rights violations in Sri Lanka such as disappearances."
(British Refugee Council, Sri Lanka Monitor, March 2000)