Tigers deny abduction charge amid allegations

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 07 October 2003, 18:38 GMT]
The spokesperson for the Liberation Tigers in Batticaloa denied Tuesday that they had forcibly recruited school children from the town of Valaichenai amid widespread allegations that they abducted the young persons to serve in their military. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) on Tuesday criticised the incident as “completely unacceptable” and a serious violation of children’s rights.

Journalists were invited to the LTTE’s main conference centre in Karadiyanaaru, 24 kilometres northwest of Batticaloa town, Tuesday afternoon to interview 11 boys from Valaichenai said to have been abducted by the LTTE to bolster its ranks in the eastern district.

Mr. Krishan, the deputy head of the LTTE’s political wing in Batticaloa, claimed that the eleven had joined up voluntarily.

He denied speculation in the eastern town Tuesday that the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) was arranging a meeting between the parents of the boys and local Tiger leaders.

Parents and relatives of the eleven boys demonstrated Monday in Valaichenai town demanding the immediate release of their children.

Meanwhile, UNICEF, which runs a transit camp in Batticaloa for young persons who leave the LTTE, said that its ground teams are trying to verify the exact number of children who were taken away in Valaichenai, 32 kilometres north of Batticaloa town.


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