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Sri Lanka panel receives more missing complaints from ex-LTTE base

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Colombo, Nov 7 (PTI) A Sri Lanka government panel probing thousands of cases of missing people during the nearly three- decade-long war with the LTTE has recorded more complaints of disappearances in a former Tamil Tiger stronghold.

The Presidential Commission on Disappearances which met in the former LTTE stronghold of Mullaithivu has recorded more complaints of disappearances of individuals, a Commission official said. “We have had a good response from the Mullaithivu public over the last 4 days,” said HW Gunadasa, the Secretary to the probe said.

The panel headed by retired judge Maxwell Paranagama received 166 new complaints after it invited 230 people to record their cases before them, Gunadasa said.

“It was for the eighth time we met for our public sittings. From November 2, we recorded oral submission from public about disappearances,” Gunadasa said. Mullaithivu served as the military capital of the LTTE when they ran their parallel administration in the north and east of the island.

The Tamil Tigers were engaged in an armed conflict with the Sri Lankan forces for nearly-three decades, but were defeated. Thousands of people went missing during the conflict.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed the Commission to probe the disappearance cases in August, 2013. They have received over 19,500 complaints inclusive of approximately 5,000 complaints from relatives of missing security forces personnel.

The Commission has held public sittings from the beginning of this year in the former battle raged areas of Killinochchi, Jaffna, Mullaitivu and Mannar in the north and Batticaloa in the east.

The recorded statements are to be analysed for further probes through an independent investigative team, the Commission said. In July, the government extended the mandate of the Commission and appointed three international experts to advise the panel.

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