SLA short of troops - Commander

[TamilNet, Friday, 08 May 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Lieutenant General Rohan DeS Daluwatte, Commander of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA), said at a press conference today, that there was a shortage of security forces personnel to open the road from Vavuniya to Kilinochchi. He said that it was due to this necessity that deserters were being recalled to service.

daluwatte_rohan.gifHe said that the SLA would not recruit school children, but would visit schools to encourage school leavers to enlist.

The reopening of the A9 road from Vavuniya to Kilinochchi has preoccupied the SLA for almost one year now. But this thrust - Operation Jayasikurui - has been been unsuccessful thus far.

A Sunday newspaper's front page news item alleging that the Sri Lanka Government (SLG) was to campaign in schools to persuade students to join the security forces, sparked off a furor, with rumours of imminent conscription in the air.

The matter was compounded by the presence, in Sri Lanka, of Mr. Olara Otunnu, UN Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict.

The SLG has frequently accused the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) of using children to fight in its ranks.

Meanwhile, the final amnesty given to deserters to rejoin their regiments draws to a close on Sunday, 10 May. The SLG has threatened to punish all deserters who are captured after that date.

 

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