New Delhi: A report from a UN demining expert says unexploded cluster munitions have been found in northern Sri Lanka, appearing to confirm, for the first time, that they were used in the country's long civil war.
The new revelation is likely to add momentum to calls for an international investigation into possible war crimes stemming from the final months of fighting in the quarter century civil war.
The government has repeatedly denied using cluster munitions during the final months of fighting.
The ordnance, which sprays dozens of small bomblets around an area, is controversial when used in heavily population war zones like northern Sri Lanka because it can't be precisely targeted and poses greater risk of hitting noncombatants. The bomblets that fail to detonate often kill civilians long after the war is over.
An email obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday from a top UN demining expert said unexploded cluster bomblets were discovered in the Puthukudiyiruppu area, where a girl was killed last month and her sister injured as they tried to pry apart an explosive device they had found to sell for scrap metal.
The e-mail, which was dated Tuesday, said photographs showed cluster bomblets present in the area where they children had been collecting scrap and in their house in the Puthukudiyiruppu region.
Tens of thousands of civilians and Tamil Tiger rebel fighters had been trapped in a tiny area of Puthukudiyiruppu as government forces attacked the area during the final weeks of the war.