Sri Lanka accused of 'ethnic cleansing' of Tamil areas

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Trincomalee (Sri Lanka), May 26 (ANI): The Sri Lankan government has been accused of launching a campaign of "ethnic cleansing" following its victory over the Tamil Tigers in the country's 26 year civil war.

According to The Telegraph, aid officials, human rights campaigners and politicians claim Tamils have been driven out of areas in the northeast of the country by killings and kidnappings carried out by pro-government militias.

They say the government has simultaneously encouraged members of the Sinhalese majority in the south to relocate to the vacated villages.

One foreign charity worker told the Daily Telegraph the number of Tamils disappearing in and around Trincomalee, 50 miles south of the final conflict zone in Mullaitivu, had been increasing in the last three months.

He claimed to have known 15 of the disappeared, three of whom had been found dead. He said all three bodies showed signs of torture, while two were found with their hands tied behind their backs and single bullet wounds in their heads.

Another aid worker said the killings were part of a strategy to drive out the Tamils.

Many Tamils have sold their homes and land at below-market prices after members of their families had been killed or had disappeared, he said.

Since the victory earlier this month, President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government has been under pressure to 'win the peace' with a generous devolution package for Tamils in the north.

Ministers have said they want to break the identification of the Tamils with the northern and eastern provinces and integrate them into the Sinhalese majority population throughout the country. (ANI)

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