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Disappearing in Sri Lanka

Over the course of its 25-year conflict, Sri Lanka has been an island plagued by the abduction and disappearance of its citizens - some estimate tens of thousands. In the Eastern Province of the country—a region controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam until mid-2007 when the government captured it—many families continue to live in terror of loved ones being taken in the night. In the last three months alone, human rights groups estimate at least 75 and as many as 200 people have disappeared from the eastern coastal town of Batticaloa.

The fate of those taken is rarely known except in a few rare instances when remains are discovered, as was the case in January when the bodies of two young men washed onto a beach weeks after they went missing. Who is behind the disappearances and what purpose do they serve? How does the community survive despite being repeatedly targeted? The Sri Lankan government has touted the Eastern Province as a political and humanitarian success story, but for the region's citizens, they still live in fear.

Civilian Toll Rises in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- Hundreds more civilians have died in fighting in Sri Lanka's north, where 50,000 noncombatants remain trapped in the crossfire between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels as a quarter-century-old struggle enters its endgame.

A government doctor, V. Shanmugarajah, told the Associated Press on Sunday that artillery fire killed at least 378 civilians and wounded more than 1,100. He called it the bloodiest day he had seen and said many more civilians probably were killed but were buried where they fell.

Sri Lanka: Targeting Blood Donors

Maura R. O'Connor, for the Pulitzer Center

During the last two months, over 7,000 wounded civilians have been evacuated to the port city of Trincomalee from the front lines of the ongoing battle between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE). Those who have arrived in Trincomalee have been trapped in the north for months with an estimated 150 to 190,000 other civilians in the shrinking conflict zone. They represent the most desperate cases among thousands of people being wounded by mortar attacks exchanged between the two sides.

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