[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Monday, 18 September 2006, 13:58 GMT 14:58 UK
Sri Lankan civilians found dead
Dead Sri Lankan Muslims
An inquiry into the deaths has been demanded
The funerals of 11 murdered Muslims have taken place in eastern Sri Lanka.

Their bodies were found after they had apparently gone to repair an irrigation system. Local Muslims have called for an inquiry into how the men died.

Hundreds of angry Muslims earlier gathered outside a mosque in Ampara where the bodies were displayed.

The government accused the Tamil Tigers of the killings, but the rebels have blamed the army, pointing out that they happened in a government-held area.

Months of heavy fighting have displaced more than 200,000 people in Sri Lanka. Hundreds have been killed.

Both sides have condemned the latest killings, which took place in a remote part of Ampara district.

Friction

The military says the civilian men had been working on a water project on Sunday. When they failed to return home, a team went to investigate on Monday morning and found the bodies.

Muslims protest in Pottuvil, 250 km east of Colombo
The killings have angered the Muslim community

"They had gone to renovate a sluice gate and went missing. They have been found dead, hacked and chopped," an unnamed military spokesman quoted by the Reuters news agency said.

Another man was injured, but survived the attack.

The BBC's Dumeetha Luthra in Ampara says that locals say there has been friction between the Muslim community and the Sri Lankan security forces.

Our correspondent says that many in the town accuse the Special Task Force (STF) of the killings, and now want the local police unit transferred immediately, along with a full investigation.

The STF have denied the allegations.

Sri Lanka's police chief is now in Ampara for talks with senior Muslim politicians, and our correspondent says that shows that the issue is being taken seriously.

Ampara district is home to a large number of Sri Lanka's Muslim minority - Muslims are the third largest community in the country after the Sinhalese and Tamils.

The Sri Lankan military is adopting its long tradition of blaming the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam for the atrocities it commits
Tamil Tiger statement

Muslims have recently been caught up in the increasing violence between the government forces and rebels.

Tens of thousands were displaced from the north-eastern town of Muttur in July and August when fighting between the two sides forced them from their homes.

Norway brokered a ceasefire between Sri Lanka's government and the Tamil Tigers in 2002 which is still technically in place, despite the violence.

The two sides held a number of rounds of peace talks until the rebels pulled out in April 2003 saying they were being sidelined.

The government and rebels did meet earlier this year for talks aimed at shoring up the ceasefire, but made no headway.

More than 60,000 people have been killed since the rebels began their fight the 1970s for a separate homeland for minority Tamils in the north and east.


RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific