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.