New Footage Emerges Alleging War Atrocities
By Dinouk Colombage
Another UK based media institution has revealed that they are in possession of more damning footage of alleged atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan military during the final stages of the war.
UK’s The Independent reported on Friday that they were in possession of video footage showing soldiers ‘gloating over a pile of more than 100 Tamil corpses’.
Sri Lanka’s military has described The Independent’s report as a piece of sensationalist news and denied any truth in it.
Military spokesperson, Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya, refuted these fresh allegations claiming that, “this is just another attempt by the Western media to sensationalise an issue that does not exist”. He went on to state that he had not seen the footage first hand but from the reports he could safely say that there was no truth to it.
Wanigasuriya went on to say that this is not the first time a British media organisation has attempted to tarnish the image of the Sri Lankan forces. “We have proven them wrong before and will do so again,” he added.
He denied that they would be requesting to see this footage claiming that, “it is clearly a fabricated video and carries no truth to it; it will be just like the Channel 4 videos.”
In total The Independent claims to be in possession of 32 video clips and 26 photos all taken on the same phone. They go on to state that several pictures show a bus load of handcuffed Tamil Tiger fighters including children.
According to the report the footage was filmed by a female Sri Lankan soldier, who could be heard speaking in Sinhalese and shows ‘how Tamils were often treated with contempt by Sinhalese soldiers’.
The article claims that it is impossible to say whether the corpses were combatants, civilians or both. But it does acknowledge that the Tamil Tigers used human shields in the final stages of the war.
The Independent goes on to state that the video had been smuggled out of the country by a man who used to work at an internet cafe frequented by Sri Lankan soldiers.
Vasuki Maruhathas, a London based solicitor who obtained the video footage from a client and handed it over to The Independent, was quoted as saying the footage was genuine as her client often backed up footage captured on the soldiers’ phones.
According to The Independent they were provided with the footage following a mass demonstration by thousands of angry Tamil protestors outside the Commonwealth’s headquarters on Thursday.
Charu Lata Hogg, an expert on Sri Lanka at Chatham House, has also been quoted as saying the footage fits into a wider pattern of abuse directed at Tamils.