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Rights Groups Silent over LTTE Child Soldiering Despite Credible Evidence – Defence Spokesman


The Media Centre for National Security

Sri Lanka, November 14, 2007

DEFENCE SPOKESMAN Minister Keheliya Rambukwella addressing the weekly media briefing at MCNS today (14) said that Child Rights groups have remained silent over LTTE child soldiering despite the availability of credible evidence to prove the active involvement of them in LTTE terror activities. Minister Rambukwella referring to the presence of LTTE child combatants at Thamil Chelvam’s funeral said that it was clear evidence to prove that the LTTE still uses children for combat duties. Unfortunately there has been no “worthwhile” or “vibrant” voice raised against this by the international community and rights groups, despite the credible evidence the minister noted.

Two years ago Tamil Chelvam had assured UNICEF that their child cadre brigades would be disbanded. Regrettably, UNICEF has not been vociferous about it and not pursued the matter, Minister added.

He also informed the media that the government was still awaiting “credible evidence” from Mr. Allan Rock who alleged the security forces of helping Karuna to recruit children to fight against the LTTE. Though Mr. Allan Rock charged government forces of helping Karuna to recruit children, he has up to date failed to furnish the government with “credible evidence” which he said was with him at the time he made these statements. Certain reports based on Mr. Rock’s accusations were detrimental to a Sri Lanka, the minister said.

LTTE light aircraft

Minister Rambukwella also stressed that there were no reports by the Air Force of any LTTE light aircraft over Vavuniya early this morning as reported by some media. He requested media personnel to be cautious and responsible in reporting such matters.

Muhamalai attack

LTTE has been trying to infiltrate the Muhamalai defences during the last one and a half months and the security forces have been repulsing these attacks. However the security forces decided to launch an attack to deter further infiltration on the forward defnce line, the minister explained.

Disturbance at Ranmitithenna

Addressing the media on the disturbance in Ranmitithenna, Tissamaharamaya, Minister Rambukwella said that there is a possibility of small LTTE groups entering Yala from the Thoppigala area. However, the Minister said that investigations and search operations are still in progress and a clear picture about the situation will be revealed to the media in the near future once the investigations are completed.

Briefing by Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara on the current security situation in operational areas.

Briefing the media on the latest incidents in operational areas, Military Spokesman, Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said that four LTTE cadres were killed when troops ambushed a LTTE camouflaged Defender jeep in Palampiddy, Mannar around 4.00 p.m. last evening (13). Among the killed is LTTE support arms leader Pullaiwan Annan.

A LTTE cadre who lobbed a hand grenade targeting an Army foot patrol was shot dead by troops in Jaffna town around 3.20 a.m. this morning (14). Troops recovered his body with another hand grenade and a cyanide capsule, Brigadier Nanayakkara said.

Arrangements are in place to hand over18 dead bodies of LTTE cadres killed during clashes with troops in the recent past to the ICRC, Brig. Nanayakkara said. Since 10th October 14th November 2007, 80 bodies of LTTE cadres have been recoverd by troops. 60 bodies have been handed over to the LTTE, he further added. During the period 5th November 2007 to 14th November 2007, 187 LTTE cadres have perished in clashes with troops in Vavuniya, Mannar and Jaffna operational areas, the Military Spokesman said. 15 security forces personnel were also killed while another 63 have sustained injuries. 7 civilians were also killed and 2 injured in attacks carried out by the LTTE, Brig. Nanayakkara added.

Brigadier Nanayakkara said search operations are in progress and that additional troops have been deployed in the Yala area to ensure security of civilians under the new area Commander of Hambanthota.

The Military Spokesman also reveled of a LTTE ploy to force civilians from the vicinity of security forces establishments in Mannar. However, no civilian has vacated their settlements so far which shows the trust they have in the security forces Brigadier Nanayakkara said.

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