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Death anniversary of twenty four Tamil civilians

People of Kumarapuram, a village in Killiveddy area, Saturday observed the 10th death anniversary of twenty four Tamil civilians, including children massacred by a group of soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army ( SLA ) on 11th February 1996. Thirty Tamil villagers were seriously injured in the incident. Kumarapuram, which lies about 32 km south of Trincomalee town by sea, comes under the administrative limit of the Muttur Divisional Secretariat.

Photographs of twenty sixty victims were kept in the building of the Kumarapuram Rural Development Society (RDS) Saturday evening. Villagers garlanded the photographs and lit the flame of sacrifice.

Special religious observances and prayers were held in Kumarapuram Krishnan Temple in memory of the victims. Thereafter a public meeting was held in the Kumarapuram RDS hall with its president Mr.S.Jesuthasan in the chair, sources said.

A group of SLA soldiers ran berserk on the evening of 11th February 1996, at about 5 p.m., on receipt of information that two SLA soldiers were found dead with gunshot injuries at the 58th milepost junction on the Killiveddy-Muttur road, which leads to the Kumarapuram village, located half a mile from the scene.

The soldiers started killing civilians and beat many of the villagers injuring several seriously.

Two Tamil girls were gang-raped by several security personnel and later killed.

10 men and women, and 14 children were killed at night. The breakdown by age group of those massacred by the SLA is as follows: 3 infants below age 5, 3 children aged 5-10, 8 youths aged 11-20, 6 persons aged 21-30, 2 persons 31-40 and 2 persons above 50, sources said.

Of the twenty soldiers arrested by the Police immediately after the massacre the Attorney General has indicted nine with the murder of 24 Tamil civilians. The case against the accused soldiers is still pending in the Trincomalee High Court awaiting trial. One of the accused is reported to have in the meantime, legal sources said.

Meanwhile all material evidence, including weapons allegedly used in the massacre, were destroyed when the office of the Government Analyst in Colombo was gutted by fire last year, legal sources said.

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