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Families of disappeared slam Gotabaya’s disappearances denial

Families of the disappeared in Vavuniya protested on Wednesday, condemning presidential candidate and former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s denial of hundreds of cases of disappearances of surrendered Tamils from the end of the war.

Staging a rally at their roadside spot in Vavuniya town where they have been for over 970 days, families of the disappeared slammed the “various opinions that have been expressed with the aim of sabotaging [our] struggle in the run-up to the presidential election”.

“We are not asking about the children who were killed by the Sri Lankan army’s bombings,” the families said referring to Rajapaksa’s comments that war-time deaths could lead to missing bodies. “We are asking for the children we handed over to the army at the Omanthai checkpoint in the days after the war ended.”

“Where are our children that were handed over in the name of rehabilitation? If they do not exist that should have been made clear when the ‘Paranagama’ Commission of Inquiry visited Vavuniya in 2010.”

“We have all the evidence. How can people say that there was no such [surrendering] incident in Sri Lanka when we are the eyewitnesses?”