Sri Lanka Tamils mark 15 years since end of civil war

Mullivaikkal, Sri Lanka   -   Sri Lanka’s minority Tamil community marked 15 years since the end of the island nation’s civil war on Saturday in an emotional ceremony that proceeded despite fears authorities would attempt to prevent its staging. Public events celebrating the Tamil Tigers separatist group -- which fought a no-holds-barred battle to establish an ethnic minority homeland -- are illegal and authorities have blocked past memorials. Tamils say the events are held to remember all victims of the decades-long war, which concluded in 2009 after a military offensive in the last Tigers stronghold. The operation was condemned internationally for the indiscriminate bombardment of civilians.   “Thousands died here the day before the war ended,” a 41-year-old Tamil village official, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal, told AFP at the memorial site in Mullivaikkal. “There were lots of wounded people crying for help,” he added. “This will haunt me for the rest of my life.” Several thousand Tamils had travelled to the village for the remembrance, where they lit oil lamps to commemorate the dead.

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