Abducted youth being trained in Polannaruwa
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 30 August 2006, 11:05 GMT]
A number of youths from Amparai district abducted by Army-backed anti-LTTE paramilitaries are undergoing weapons training at military bases in Polannaruwa District, LTTE officials who met with the United Nations’ child agency, UNICEF, said this week. Many youth had been brazenly picked up by unmarked ‘white vans’ in Army-controlled parts of the eastern districts, they said, urging UNICEF to visit the training sites.
UNICEF’s Resident Representative for Batticaloa and Amparai districts, Cristina de Brut, met with the LTTE’s Political head of for Amparai district, Jeya on Monday, sources said. Veeramani, the LTTE’s Political head of the Udumpankulam area was also present.
The meeting took place in Pavaddai, in the LTTE-controlled part of the Amparai district at 2.00 p.m.
The officials discussed the recent abductions of Tamil youths in this area.
Ms. de Brut said many complaints were lodged with UNICEF about kidnappings of youth. She handed over a list with the details of 32 youths who had ‘disappeared in the recent past.
She urged the LTTE to release any recruits below the age of 18, pointing out the G.C.E. O/L general examinations are imminent.
Mr. Jeya had said the LTTE had also received complaints about the abductions by gunmen operating alongside Sri Lankan troops.
“Parents of the disappeared youths told us that their children were kidnapped in military controlled area by persons who come in white vans, identifying themselves as members Karuna Group. They are operating in full view of the Sri Lanka Army,” he said.
“Several youths are being held against their will at Thevuchchenai [in the Polannaruwa District] and are being given weapons training,” Jeya had said.
On his part, Jeya took up the harassment of civilians by Sri Lankan Special Forces camped by Thirukkovil District Hospital.
Special Task Force (STF) are searching doctors, nurses and other staff, as well as patients in a demeaning and humiliating manner, he said.
He said that despite repeated appeals to Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) and the UNICEF, nothing had been done.
UNICEF had been appealed to on account of its humanitarian mandate, he said.
De Brut promised to take up the matter in UNICEF’s Colombo Head Office.