Lukewarm response to amnesty offer

[TamilNet, Sunday, 22 February 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Despite the fresh amnesty offered by the Sri Lankan president Chandrika Kumaratunge to the SLA deserters, few are returning to their units, forcing the government further to extend the amnesty to February 25.

The President who has offered the amnesty for the first time since the war broke out is offering terms that are more generous than the those offered in the earlier amnesties.

The President appealed to the army and police deserters earlier this month to return to their duties assuring none of the deserters will be subject to routine procedures which they have to undergo when they report back for service.

Meanwhile, the SLA officers engaged in the Operation Jayasikurui told the visiting journalists recently that they are hard pressed for soldiers to move ahead speedily.

They said that they do not want to loose numbers by taking a head-on approach to capturing town of Mankulam, because of the troops shortage.

The SLA officers also acknowledged that many of the new army recruits who go home on leave, usually after a long gap of 4 - months, do not return to their units.

The SLA officers in the forward areas of Jayasikurui attributed this to family pressure, which the ill-trained new recruits face when they return to their villages from the field.

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