‘Walk to the troops’: SMS sent Tamils to their death
May 14, 2011
Beaten and with nowhere left to run, they received the text message just before 9 o’clock on a Sunday morning.
It came, through an intermediary, from the Sri Lankan foreign secretary, apparent instructions for a surrender: ”Just walk across to the troops, slowly! With a white flag and comply with instructions carefully. The soldiers are nervous about suicide bombers.”
At dawn the next day, a group of nearly 20 – Tamil Tiger soldiers and civilians – scrambled from behind their defensive sand embankment, walking under white flags towards the Sri Lankan army’s 58th Division.
Within half an hour their leaders were found, shot dead. None who surrendered are known to have survived.
The man who sent the text message was Dr Palitha Kohona, a dual Sri Lankan-Australian citizen, a former Australian diplomat and trade negotiator for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He is now an ambassador for Sri Lanka, the country’s permanent representative to the United Nations. Continue reading