Sri Lankan bishop accuses forces for disappearance of priests

Posted By: Nairita Das
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London, Nov 3 (ANI): At least two Roman Catholic priests have gone missing in Sri Lanka in the past four years, the bishop of Trincomalee and Batticaloa told the commission looking into the country's civil war.

According to the BBC, Kingsley Swampillai, the bishop of Trincomalee and Batticaloa, a number of Sri Lankans have gone missing in the past years whose whereabouts have not been traced so far. Among them include, priests - Rev Father Nihal Jim Brown, who he said had vanished in Jaffna in 2006, and Father Joseph Francis, who had "got involved with" the Tamil Tiger militants while living in their heartland.

Bishop Swampillai said Father Francis was among those leaving the war zone in May 2009 and passing through the military checkpoint at Omanthai when people travelling with him saw him taken in for special questioning.

"And then he was no more - nobody saw him thereafter," the bishop said.he bishop was also criticised the security forces, saying: "The rights have been violated with impunity by the security forces and by unidentifiable persons and groups especially in the north and east. The situation has worsened by the state sponsorship of paramilitary groups during the height of the war, out of the former militants."

The civil war ended last year when troops defeated Tamil Tiger rebels, who had been fighting for a separate state. The United Nations estimates the ethnic conflict killed up to 100,000 people, many others disappeared.

The government says the commission will promote reconciliation and has rejected international calls for an external inquiry. (ANI)

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