STF ambushes released underage youth en route to parents - LTTE

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 28 August 2007, 02:46 GMT]
Fourteen underage youths, 9 boys and 5 girls, who were being taken to be handed over to their parents in Amparai district by the political division of the Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam (LTTE) and the members of the Child Protection Authority (CPA), dispatched from Vanni to ensure the release, were ambushed by the Special Task Force (STF) commandos at Thaa'ndiyadi in Amparai district Monday around 6:00 p.m. The underage youths were being taken to a civilian populated area in accordance with an arrangement for handover reached between the LTTE and the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, LTTE District Political Head of Ampaa'rai, P. Kavaiyarasan told TamilNet.

Two of the boys have managed to return to an LTTE base after the ambush. However, the fate of the other twelve, 7 boys and 5 girls, is not known, Mr. Kaviyarasan said.

The youths were on their way, from a jungle base of the LTTE in the district, to be handed over to the representatives of their parents in SLA/STF controlled civilian area.

UNICEF and the LTTE had been exploring ways of safe return of the youths to their parents for sometime.

The Tigers were urging the UNICEF to take charge of the fourteen underage youths to ensure they were not harassed by the military or allied paramilitaries who have been forcefully recruit underage youth released by the LTTE, Kaviyarasan said.

As such, LTTE and UNICEF had discussed two different methods to facilitate the safe return of underage youths to their parents in Ampaa'rai, Batticaloa and Trincomalee districts.

The first option was to enable a CPA delegation from Vanni and the UNICEF to reach LTTE area, receive the underage youths and hand them over to their parents. This option was ruled out by the UNICEF as impractical under the prevailing military conditions, according to Kaviyarasan.

The other option, which dealt with arranging a short cessation of hostilities to enable the youths to be handed over to their parents in the presence of the UNICEF. However this option did not receive the necessary support from the Sri Lankan military.

The only remaining option was to release them at a civilian area in the presence of one of the representatives of the parents of the youth.


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