Vallipunam Senchcholai Complex
Massacre of School Girls 2006.08.14
The Vallipunam Senchcholai complex bombing is one among the many large scale massacres of civilians by successive Sri Lankan governments that have carried out and is continuing to carry out a well planned ethnic genocide of the Tamil people in the island of Sri Lanka. All along school students were not exempt from the genocidal intent of successive Sri Lankan governments. The aerial bombing of the Vallipunam Senchcholai complex on 14 August
2006 targeted hundreds of senior school girls who were taking part in a leadership workshop. Fifty three school girls and two staffs were killed in this attack. Girls who sustained serious injury number 130. Many more girls with less serious injuries recovered after treatment.
This report brings together information from many sources about this incident. Families of the girls and staff who were killed, severely injured girls, people from the education sector who organized the workshop were all interviewed. Affidavits signed by families, death certificates issued by the coroner, and statements from those affected have all been put together in this
• Principals’ Association Letter to UNICEF
• Report by UNICEF
• Views of the affected people
• Details of those killed
• Death certificates of those killed.
• Photographs of those killed.
• Coroner’s Reports of those killed.
o Press Release of NESOHR in 22nd of August 2006
o Leadership Training Programme for A/L students 2006 –
o Time Table for the programme
o Details of students injured
o http://www.tamilnet.com News
Massacre of School Girls
in the Vallipunam Senchcholai Complex
For the last two decades, Vanni region has been put under many forms of oppressive measures by the Sri Lankan government. Economic blockade, aerial bombardments, and military occupation of Vanni have made it into a very badly affected area. Vanni was able to recover a little only after the signing the ceasefire agreement in February 2002. The re-imposition of the
oppressive measures over the last one and half years is pushing back any recovery that was made.
The education was one of the severely affected aspects of life in Vanni. Non appointment of teachers, restriction on sending text books, lack of laboratory equipment and the on going attacks and repeated displacement contributed to this. During the early ceasefire period, the education sector in Vanni implemented several programs including workshops, sport competitions, and
tours for the students to make up for these shortcomings and speed up the development of the students.
The leadership workshop organized by the Principals Association to run from 11 August to 20, 2006 in the Vallipunam Senchcholai complex was part of this wider program. Senior school girls from Kilinochchi, Mullaithivu and Oddusuddan Zonal Education Divisions took part in this workshop.
On 14 August 2006, three days after the workshop got underway, four Sri Lankan bombers dropped several bombs on the Senchcholai complex where the girls were staying and taking part in the workshop. Fifty three school girls and three staff at the workshop were killed. More than 130 girls sustained severe injuries.
This incident has left a very deep psychological scar on the school students in Vanni. Since this bombing whenever Sri Lankan bombers fly in the sky, students run in fear in all directions from their classrooms disrupting the functioning of the school for the rest of the day.
UNICEF: Children are victims of the conflict in Sri Lanka
Colombo, New York, Geneva, 15 August 2006 – The bombing on Monday of a Vallipunam compound in Mullaitivu district that reportedly killed dozens of girls and wounded many more is a
shocking result of the rising violence in Sri Lanka, UNICEF said today.
“These children are innocent victims of violence,” said Ann M. Veneman, UNICEF Executive Director. “We call on all parties to respect international humanitarian law and ensure children and the places where they live, study and play are protected from harm.”
The compound in the northern part of the country was bombed, reportedly killing as many as 40 adolescent girls. Some 100 children were wounded, many critically. Girls from various schools in the nearby district of Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi were staying overnight at the compound, attending a two-day course in first-aid.
UNICEF staff from a nearby office immediately visited the compound to assess the situation and to provide fuel and supplies for the hospital as well as counseling support for the injured students and the bereaved families. This latest incident comes amidst escalating hostilities in Sri Lanka in recent weeks, where tens of thousands of children were displaced from their homes. Hundreds of children have been injured, lost family members, and live in constant fear of the violence and continuous shelling of their communities.
- The view of a school principal
- Mr Sinnaih Baskaran (Principal of Visuvamadu Mahavidyalayam)
This leadership workshop for disaster management was organized by the Zonal Education Departments in Kilinochchi and Mullaithivu. The lectures were iven by selected school teachers. We needed a location to bring all the students in one place. The Senchcholai complex came up as the most suitable. Because it was once a children’s home complex there was enough space for the students stay. We also believed that the location identified as a children’s home complex will safeguard it from any attack on
Forty eight girls from our school went for this workshop. Twelve of these girls were killed in the aerial attack and a further 26 girls were injured. We have built a memorial in the school for the girls who were killed in this attack. This memorial has pictures of 15 girls who were killed. This includes three pictures of our former students who were also killed in this attack.
The Sri Lankan Government has carried out this attack knowing that this location is a children’s home complex. Tamil people live in fear in this island. International community must evaluate this dire condition of the Tamils in this island and take the necessary steps to ensure such massacres do not take place again.
A student who suffered leg injury
Ms Kalaichelvan Hema (Udayarkaddu Mahavidhyalayam)
I am a 2008 GCE Advanced Level student at Udayarkaddu
Mahavidhalayam. We were at the Senchcholai Children’s Home Complex to follow a Leadership Workshop in disaster management. The workshop went well for three days. On the fourth day we were finishing our morning chores when the Kfirs started dropping bombs. We ran in all direction. I was injured in my leg near my left knee. I was in the Kilinochchi hospital for two months. Even now I cannot stand on my own. I went to school in a three-wheeler for two days. I felt uneasy asking other girls to help me all the time. I have therefore stopped going to school.
Sri Lankan Government must visit all the schools in the Mullaithivu district and view the memorials that have been erected in these schools for the students who have been killed and also see the injured students. They will then realize how the future generation is affected by their aerial bombardments.
A student who suffered leg injury
Ms Kidnan Siloyini (Tharmapuram Mahavidhyalayma)
We went to Vallipunam Senchcholai complex to attend the
Disaster management leadership workshop on 10 August 2006.
The workshop proceeded well for three days. But on the 14the
August at 7.00am Kfirs began attacking us. We all ran and lied down on the ground. I lost my left leg below the knee. I was also
injured in my waist and stomach areas. I have no idea how to think back about that day. There were more than 550 girls attending the workshop. Within minutes it turned into a blood bath. Cries of pain and help echoed all around. I was taken to the
Kilinochchi hospital. I was there for nearly three months. I am continuing with my studies at GCE AL. I feel depressed thinking about my friends who were killed and injured more seriously than myself. I appeal to everyone to stop such attacks on the
students of Tamil
A student who lost one eye
Ms Robert Yogarasa Thushyanthi
I was studying GCE AL at at Semmalai Mahavidhyalayam. I went with all my class mates to attend the Disaster management
workshop at Vallipunam Senchcholai Children’s Home complex. There were more than 500 girls there attending the workshop.
We went their on 10 August. We were given classes on physical fitness, leadership, team work, first aid and self confidence. We were all thoroughly enjoying the classes and each other.
On 14 August many were still finishing their morning chores and those who have finished wee getting ready for the morning exercise. At that time Kfir bombers began dropping bombs. We did not expect this. There were no bunkers there either. Bombs began to fall near us and explode. I thought that I will never live after this. After the bombing stopped and felt that one of my eyes was itching. When I put my hand I felt blood. It was only then that I
realized that I was injured in my eye. I must have fainted after that. When I woke up I was lying in a hospital bed. The hospital was filled with people. My parents were there too. My right eye was bandaged. I could not move my arms or legs. There were several injuries. After a few days I was transferred from Puthukudiyiruppu hospital to Kilinochchi hospital. There were many girls there who have lost their legs.
Fr Reginald from Annai Ilam comes home to give me counseling. Sometimes he comes to the school too. I feel depressed when everyone, people who were kind to me as well as those who used to quarrel with me, now look at me with sympathy. When I hear Kefir noise I hear the cries of the girls at the Senchcholai complex on that fatal day.
An injured student
Ms Mahesalingam Senthuja, Semmalai Mahavidhyalayam
I was studying GCE AL at Semmalai Mahavidhyalayam. Many of my classmates and I went to Vallipunam Senchcholai Children’s Home complex to attend the Disaster Management Leadership workshop. There were more than 500 students who have gathered to attend the workshop.
We were taking physical exercises in the morning and later we were learning first aid and other related subjects.
On 14 August when Kfirs bombers started attacking us we were unable to run anywhere to escape because bombs were falling all around us. We all fell down on the ground. I was lying under a tree with my cousin. After the Kfirs have left I could not put my left feet on the ground. It was all crushed. My cousin also was injured in her stomach. She ripped her dress and bandaged my feet and she carried me when people came running to help. Some boys
put me on the motorbikes and that the last I remember because I fainted after that. When I woke up I found myself in Puthukuduyiruppu hospital with my feet bandaged. Sonn my parents and relatives arrived. They were relieved to see myself and my cousin alive. My feel is OK now but because I have lost
my big toe I cannot walk normally. I do not like going to school anymore. I cannot think back of that time when many of my friends were killed and injured. When I think that our government has put us in this state I feel disgusted with life itself.