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DNA testing helped identify most victims- Hakeem

2013 Dec 27

Tiger attack on Navy transit point in 2006


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem recently revealed that the government had to conduct DNA tests to identify those who perished in the LTTE suicide attack, on a navy transit point, at Digampotha, Habarana in Oct 2006.

SLMC leader Hakeem said that the identity of the victims, from those remains, had to be established through DNA testing to enable the navy to identify the next of kin.

The minister was addressing a workshop held in Colombo to coincide with the opening of a laboratory equipped to undertake DNA testing at the Government Analyst’s Department.

Navy headquarters spokesman Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya told The Island that the blast claimed the lives of 101 personnel and wounded 24 others. The killing of off duty personnel was the worst attack on the navy during the entire conflict. Navy headquarters placed the number of officers and men killed during the conflict at 773 and 368 disabled.

Addressing senior officials representing the Justice Ministry, Attorney General’s Department, Government Analyst’s Department, Legal Draftsman Department and the police, Minister Hakeem said the establishment of DNA testing facility would help prevent inordinate delays hence bring relief to people.

Recollecting the introduction of DNA testing here in 2002, Minister Hakeem said that the new technology had been used in over 2,000 cases to identify criminals. The minister revealed that the DNA technology had been also used in about 6,000 instances to identify parents of children.

The government laboratory is scheduled to begin DNA testing next month.

With the opening of the new facility, the government’s dependence on a private laboratory will come to an end.

The minister pointed out how the DNA testing helped solve two major cases, the killing of Colombo High Court Judge Sarath Ambepitiya as well as the Royal Park murder case.

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