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Tamil family that ‘disappeared’ released after 6 years in Sri Lankan custody

A Tamil family whose whereabouts were unknown after surrendering to the Sri Lankan military in May 2009, were dropped off by unknown persons in Jaffna last week, after more than six years in custody.

Leader of the Democratic People’s Liberation Front (DPLF) Dharmalingam Siddharthan said the wife and three children of LTTE cadre Vinayagam had surrendered to the Sri Lankan military during the final stages of the armed conflict in 2009. Since then, their whereabouts were unknown, with government sources refusing to confirm their surrender.

"Vinayagam’s wife had surrendered to the armed forces with her children at the end of the war in May 2009, and gone missing ever since and her whereabouts were not known to her relatives for the last six years," said Mr Siddharthan.

The family were finally dropped off at their home in Varani, Jaffna by an unknown group of persons, after more than 6 years in secret military custody.

Mr Siddharthan said their unexpected release had now given hope to other relatives of the disappeared, who are still searching for their loved ones.

"The number of missing persons has been give as 5,000 in the report on the Dead and Missing Persons Parents Form (DMPPF) handed over to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) and it was reasonably accurate,” Mr Siddharthan said.

"There are many who have not reported disappearances of their loved for fear of reprisal and, therefore, the figure could be higher than this," he added.

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