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Orgy of massacre, rape, torture and mutilation in final days

Below are extracts from a frontline Sri Lankan soldier’s eye witness account of what happened in the final days of the war in May 2009 (see Channel 4's report here):

"When I look at it as an outsider I think they're simply brutal beasts. Their hearts are like that of animals, with no sense of humanity.”

"They shoot people at random, stab people, rape them, cut their tongues out, cut women's breasts off. I have witnessed all this with my own eyes. I have seen small children laying dead," he continued.

"I saw a lot of small children, who were so innocent, getting killed in large numbers. A large number of elders were also killed.

"They were shooting when a large number of civilians were crossing through a lagoon, including women and children. The soldiers were shooting at them. They were not Tiger cadres, just normal civilians. So yes, I saw normal civilians getting killed with my own eyes.

Rape amid impunity

Even the wounded were shown no mercy: "When they were at the hospital, one day I saw a group of six soldiers raping a young Tamil girl. I saw this with my own eyes."

Troops were allowed to act with impunity, the soldier told Channel 4.

"If they wanted to rape a Tamil girl, they could just beat her and do it. If her parents tried to stop them, they could beat them or kill them. It was their empire.

"For the soldiers at the battlefront, their hearts had turned to stone. Having seen blood, killings and death for so long, they had lost their sense of humanity. I would say they had turned into vampires."

These inhumane acts, "Fernando" said, extended to acts of torture and mutilation.

"I saw the naked dead bodies of women without heads and other parts of their bodies.

"I saw a mother and child dead and the child's body was without its head."

Mass graves

"Massive numbers of children, women and men were killed in the final stages of the war. When I say massive, in Puthumathalan alone, over 1500 civilians were killed.

"But they couldn't bury all of them. What they did was, they bought a bulldozer, they spread the dead bodies out and put sand on top of them, making it look like a bund.

"I saw 1500 bodies only in Puthumathalan, but I saw the same happen to more than 50,000 people like that."

Questioned on the accuracy of the numbers he cited, the soldier said: "In the final stage, all that I saw in Puthumathalan were dead bodies. When I entered the last place... it was totally full of dead bodies.

"They wanted to clear them that's why they brought that big vehicle. All they could do was just put sand on them. In some areas you couldn't go because there was such a terrible smell of decomposing bodies."

"They were just innocent Tamil civilians and did not belong to either warring party."