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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2675

Sri Lanka Government promises to probe un charges that elements in the army helped Karuna to recruit child soldiers

By Walter Jayawardhana

Colombo, 14 November, ( Sri Lanka’s Defense spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the government would immediately order a high level probe by the security forces into the United Nations allegation that some elements of the security forces were helping to abduct children as soldiers to the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) led Colonel Karuna.

Alan Rock Special Advisor to the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict in Sri Lanka brought forward the allegations and said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had also vowed to immediately probe the allegation and punish if some body was found responsible.

Rock said Karuna, who leads a breakaway section of the LTTE had been helped by some sections of the Sri Lankan security forces to recruit children as soldiers and there was some evidence about it.

Rock also accused the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) the main Tamil insurgent group and said they continued to recruit children by force and had broken all their pledges to release all child soldiers by January 1 2007.

He reportedly told a news conference, "One very disturbing element that confronted us ... has to do with the complicity and participation of some elements of the government's security forces in the forcible abductions by Karuna of children (in the east),"

"We encountered,” he added, “both direct and indirect evidence of this complicity and participation."

In a statement the Sri Lankan security forces said Rock's claims that government troops were actively involved in the recruitment of child soldiers were "regrettable” and “misleading.” The statement added, "Security forces... vehemently deny having any involvement whatsoever with the LTTE breakaway group for abductions in Batticaloa."

Thuiyavan , the Karuna faction spokeman making a statement to BBCC’s Tamil Service, Thamilosai said, that some children kidnapped by the LTTE to be trained as child soldiers have escaped and are now handed over to them by the respective parents of those under aged children for protection as they might be harmed by the LTTE.

He said his group denied of having taken any children by force.

- Asian Tribune -

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