British High Commissioner in Colombo James Dauris, on Tuesday, (Dec 11) visited the Mannar mass grave. Dauris was accompanied by several officials. The visit took place close on the heels of the discovery of two pieces of human bones, bound by a cable, on Dec 7. The latest recovery has made the experts engaged in excavating the mass grave wonder whether some of the people buried there had been tortured before being killed.
German Ambassador in Colombo Joern Rohde visited the Mannar mass graves on Nov. 27.
Experts have so far unearthed skeletal remains belonging to 276 persons and 269 of them were removed from the grave for further investigations.
The human skeletal remains were first found by some construction workers while excavating the site behind the CWE Building in Mannar as part of a development project on May 25. On the same day a complaint was lodged with the Mannar Police. Investigations began under the supervision of former Mannar Magistrate Alex Raja. Excavations commenced, on May 28, after it was determined by a team of scientists that the area contained undisturbed skeletons.
As the excavation work continued and more and more skeletal remains were recovered, it was concluded that the place was a mass grave.
J.T. Prabhakaran, who succeeded Alex Raja, as District Judge Mannar gave some important rulings with regard to the mass grave. The excavations of the site are now being carried out under the supervision of incumbent Mannar Magistrate Swarnaraj.
Prof. Raj Somadeva, who leads the forensic archaeological investigation into the grave said that they were yet to date the skeletal remains scientifically. Prof Somadeva said that one section of the grave contained skeletal remains in a pattern that could be observed easily while the other section did not show such specific pattern.
Of the skeletal remains found from the grave so far, 18 were of children, he said, adding that there were skeletal remains of females as it could be inferred from the pieces of jewellery and accessories found along with them. Some skeletons showed the embrace position; he said adding that it was too early to assign a date or an identity to those skeletons.