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The Gongala Massacre was a massacre that occurred on 18 September 1999, in the small village of Gonagala, located in the Ampara District of Sri Lanka. According to reports, over 50 men, women and children were hacked to death in the middle of the night. The massacre is attributed to the LTTE, which is banned as a terrorist organisation by a number of countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, India and the European Union.

The Gonagala massacre is one of several such attacks believed to have been carried out by the LTTE. However these murders gained notoriety because, unlike previous attacks, most of the LTTE cadres who took part in it were women. According to survivors, there was a significant presence of female cadres among the 75 LTTE cadres who took part in the killings.[1]


The incident occurred in the early morning of 18 September 1999, at the 31 Colony in Ampara. The LTTE cadres first entered Gonagala village and hacked to death 50 Sinhalese civilians, most of them in their sleep. A middle aged man who had tried to protect himself had his hand severed and skull pulverised. After the attack, the hacked bodies of children lay in pools of blood in the cots where they had been sleeping.[1]

The LTTE cadres then moved from the Gonagala settlement to two neighbouring ones, where they killed four more civilians, before making good their exit.[1]


Of those 54 victims of the massacre, 27 were men, 17 were women and 10 were children. Out of the 17 women who died in the killings, two of them were pregnant.[2]

According to forensic experts only one victim was shot dead with a revolver, while the rest were killed with knives or machetes. It was also reported that four other civilians were also seriously wounded.[2]

Eyewitness accountsEdit

One survivor, Herath Mudiyansalege Premasiri, a 29-year-old farmer, gave a description of the events that happened around him.

"We finished late and went to bed. There were about 15 of us, relatives and friends who came to help us for the alms-giving. I was sleeping alone in my room. Around 2 am I heard a group of people banging on the door. They later broke into the house."[2]

He survived by hiding under his bed, but 14 other people who stayed at his home on that day were killed by LTTE cadres.

Another resident of the village, who was a home guard, had been on duty at a checkpoint further away. When he returned home in the morning, he found his pregnant wife, two children (ages six and eight), his father, mother, sister and brother-in-law dead.[2]

Popular cultureEdit

This incident and the immediate aftermath is depicted in the Sinhala language war-drama film "Gamani" [2011].[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Frontline, Carnage in eastern Sri Lanka
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 The Sunday Times, Pre-dawn horror in Ampara
  3. "'Gamani' refreshes memory of a history going into oblivion – President". Policy Research & Information Unit of the Presidential Secretariat of Sri Lanka. 16 September 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2012. 

External Links and further readingEdit

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