Thu, 2008-06-26 02:29
By Walter Jayawardhana
At least twenty child soldiers in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have been killed in the Northern Districts March – April 2008, in one month, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence said.
Referring to recently captured obituary posters from a LTTE office occupied by the security forces, the Ministry of defence said, “No ranks were mentioned against 30 cadres who appear very young in their early or mid-teens. According to the details mentioned on the posters, the LTTE cadres were killed at various locations in the Jaffna and Wanni theatre of operations from 17th February to 10th March this year”.Poster 1 - Shows photographs of dead LTTE cadres
Human rights organizations have discovered earlier, that tomb stones at LTTE martyr grave yards of dead child soldiers do not indicate their birth dates and only the dates they died obviously to conceal the fact that they were child soldiers.
According to the Ministry of Defence sources, “the posters were found on a billboard at a recently captured office of an LTTE regional leader in the Karakakulam area”, in the North Western Mannar District. The Ministry of Defence also published the reproduction of all the three posters containing 50 photos each
Detailing more information on the posters Defence sources said, “The three posters contain details of 50 LTTE cadres on each, including their name, rank and the unit that they had been attached to. However, no ranks were mentioned against 30 cadres who appear very young in their early or mid-teens. According to the details mentioned on the posters, the LTTE cadres were killed at various locations in the Jaffna and Wanni theatre of operations from 17th February to 10th March this year.” Photo 2: Shows photographs of dead LTTE cadres"
The same sources said, “"The pictures of…. children show the LTTE is still using child soldiers despite its attempts cover up the existence of its shameful baby brigade".
A June 13 2008 AFP news story datelined Colombo said, “According to UNICEF (United Nation’s Children’s organization), there are 1,410 outstanding cases of child recruitment by the rebels at the end of April 2008."Of these, 146 are under the age of 18, and 1,264 were recruited while less than 18 but have now passed that age," UNICEF said.
Over the past two decades, the LTTE has promised to release children from their rank and file, but they have been accused of failing to take concrete action.
The UN says there were another 144 outstanding cases of child soldier recruitment by a breakaway rebel faction, the Karuna group, which operates in the island's east and is allied to the government.” Photo 3: Shows photographs of dead LTTE cadres