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Mass grave in Mannar in Northern Sri Lanka unearths 300 human skeletons

Jan 16, Colombo: Skeletal remains of 300 people and human bones have been unearthed as of today from the mass grave found in Mannar in Northern Sri Lanka after the grave area has been expanded for a second time since the excavations began on May 28 last year, Senior Judicial Medical Officer Shaminda Rajapaksa said.

The excavations at the mass grave resumed Wednesday (16th) after temporarily suspending the activities on January 11.

Until today excavations have been carried out for 130 days and skeletal remains belonging to 300 individuals have been unearthed from the mass grave at the old Sathosa building site, the official said.

Out of this total, skeletal remains of 294 individuals have been systematically removed and currently sealed and placed in a special chamber at the Mannar Magistrate’s Court complex, Dr. Rajapaksa said. Remains of 23 bodies believed to be children’s have been separated.

Speaking about taking samples to the United States for carbon dating, Dr. Rajapaksa said, under the Mannar Magistrate’s orders bone samples were collected in the presence of a group of forensic medicine specialists and a special team of government attorneys.

He said the bone samples for the radio carbon dating were obtained under observation of all relevant parties in order to ensure transparency.

The official said excavations may be temporarily suspended while he will be away taking the samples to the U.S. and a decision will be made after discussions with the magistrate this week.

Following the discovery of human remains on 26 March 2018 at the old Sathosa building in Mannar, the excavation of the site started on 28 May 2018 under the supervision of Mannar magistrate. Excavations continued after the site was expanded twice.

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