12/24/2008versione stampabileprintinvia paginasend

The government army sends minors to the front

Everyday, tens of young soldiers loose their lives in the military battles of the Singalese army and the stronghold of Tamil separatists. Among these soldiers are even young children. All this as the Colombo government continues its campaign against the use of children as soldiers.

Baby soldiers. With the discovery of another 36 bodies, the death toll has risen to 170 soldiers killed in the latest battle on the Ki'linochchi front. The news was released on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil (Ltte) official website which included the published photos of the discovered bodies. The images clearly prove what Tamil rebels have been saying for some time, that is, the Colombo Army in enlisting in the south of the country very young boys, if not actually children, for their incursions in the region of Vanni in the south of the country. On their website, The Tamil guerrillas showed the identification tags worn by the dead soldiers; however they also denounced the fact that very few of them actually had them. In the days that followed the Colombo army launched an offensive on five principle fronts which they were looking to conquer for some time, including what can be considered the capital of the Tamil tigers, Kilinochchi. In addition, fighting took place in Malayaalapuram, Kugnchupparanthan, Mu'rikandi e Pulikkulam. In addition to the 106 Colombo troop casualties and 10 Tamil guerrillas, more than 300 soldiers have been injured in the fighting. The fighting is still going on today and sources within the Ltte announced they have successfully blocked the advancement of the Singalese army.

Following the bloody battles of the recent days, the reconnaissance mission led to the discovery of new bodies, 28 in the battle camp of Ki'linochchi and 8 in that of Kiliaali, according to the reports of the Tamil tigers, who also reportedly seized numerous weapons from the Singalese army. In the forefront of the fight against the use of children as soldiers is parliament member Viniyagamurthi Muralitharan, leader of the Tamil faction of the government. TMVP (Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal). Muralitharan signed on to an agreement with the Colombo government and Unicef to end these enlistments. The plan is for the Sri Lanka government officials and Unicef leaders to visit the Army training camps identify underage soldiers. Spokespeople for Unicef complained that in the past, despite signing of these accords, officials were not allowed access to the training camps.

According to the figures released by Unicef, as of October 31st the TMVP placed 133 young boys on their front lines, 62 if which were under 18 years of age, and almost all of the 133 were enlisted when they were under the age of 18. The efficacy of the accord between the TMVP and the government is still unknown and moreover seems to contrary to the facts, the reality shown in the photos of the dead children soldiers, sent to front to fight.

Enrico Piovesana

(Translated by Susannah Bankhead)

Keywords: sri lanka
Topic: Children, War
Area: Sri Lanka