LTTE 'abduct 23 children' - BBC

Topic started by VP (@ on Mon Oct 6 23:13:01 .
All times in EST +10:30 for IST.

Tamil Tiger rebels abducted at least 23 children just a day after freeing 49 child soldiers, according to independent truce monitors in Sri Lanka.
The Norwegian-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission said the children were taken from the eastern town of Valachchenai over the weekend.

Three hundred Tamil students from the main school in the area staged a protest, sitting on the main road and blocking traffic all morning.

They said they would repeat their protest - a rare show of defiance towards the Tigers - until their friends were released.

The Tamil Tigers have denied involvement in the abductions, but BBC Colombo correspondent Frances Harrison says it is hard to imagine who else could be behind such a large number of children disappearing.


The abductions saw several small groups of children taken away. Some children were taken from a school, others from a Hindu temple where religious ceremonies were under way.

Local police say they are finding it difficult to investigate the abductions because parents are too frightened of the rebels to come forward and make an official complaint.

A spokeswoman for the truce monitors, Agnes Bragadottir, said they were trying to arrange a meeting between the Tiger leadership and the Tamil parents in an attempt to secure the release of the children.

The abductions happened barely 24 hours after the Tigers ceremonially released 22 boys and 27 girls at their political headquarters in the northern town of Kilinochchi.

The 49 children are being accommodated at a halfway home in the area set up by the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef).

The UN agency plans to open two more such centres in the east of the island.

The conscription of children is regarded a violation of the truce brokered by Norway, which is trying to secure a political settlement to the island's ethnic conflict which has claimed more than 60,000 lives since 1972.


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