SLA announces another amnesty for deserters
[TamilNet, Monday, 31 July 2000, 15:07 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Army (SLA), hard-pressed for manpower, announced yet another general unconditional amnesty for thousand of soldiers who have deserted its ranks. The amnesty will be in effect for 24 hours from 2 August 6 a.m. to 3 August 6 a.m SLA headquarters sources in Colombo said. Critical manpower shortages continue to plague the SLA despite amnesties announced at regular intervals every year. SLA sources estimate that 18000 to 25000 soldiers are still at large.
The amnesty call comes in the wake of concerted joint operations by the army and the Police in the Sinhala majority districts of the island to arrest absconding SLA deserters two weeks ago.
The Sri Lankan government has also introduced harsh laws to punish businesses found guilty of employing deserters.
Police claim that SLA deserters are largely responsible for robbery, rape, arson and contract killings in the Sinhala majority districts of the island.