Sri Lanka starts counting the civil war dead amid int'l pressure for inquiry into war abuses

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Sri Lanka's government has started counting the dead, wounded and missing in its quarter-century civil war amid international pressure to conduct a credible investigation into war crimes allegations.

It comes two years after a local war commission recommended a census to determine the number of civilian deaths in the civil war which ended in 2009. Thousands are said to have perished in just the last few months of the fighting.

Government census official A.J. Satharasinghe says the countrywide count started Thursday by some 15,000 workers will be completed on Dec. 20.

Countries like the United States and Britain have warned that Sri Lanka could face an international war crimes investigation if it fails to inquire on its own abuse allegations against government soldiers and the now-defeated Tamil Tiger rebels.