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Kokkadichcholai massacre by STF officers remembered in Batticaloa 32 years on

Residents in Batticaloa gathered at the Kokkadichcholai memorial to remember the massacre of 87 Tamils by Sri Lanka's Special Task Force officers at a prawn farm. 

On January 27, 1987 STF officers raided a prawn factory in the village, shooting dead the workers, which including seven boys aged between 12 to 14.

According to relatives of the victims, the night before the massacre, government helicopters were seen circling the area.

When STF officers arrived, the workers were rounded up and their identity cards checked, as the officers searched for LTTE fighters. 

Some of the workers were then taken to nearby road and shot dead. Forty people, who had been hiding in a nearby farm, were also killed. 

The bodies of those killed were burnt on old tyres, the relatives of the victims said.

The massacre, known as the 'prawn farm massacre' took place during the then UNP government. No one has been brought to justice for the crime.

Residents gathered at the newly rebuilt memorial erected for the massacre. The memorial was rebuilt and opened May last year, after the original monument was destroyed by Sri Lankan troops. 

The event, held today, was organised by the Tamil National People's Front (TNPF).

Yesterday evening the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) held remembrance event for its supporters at the memorial. 

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