2nd lead (adds audio and photos)

LTTE denies UNICEF ‘child recruitment’ charge

[TamilNet, Friday, 14 January 2005, 10:46 GMT]
The grandmother of two children alleged by UNICEF to have been recruited and released by the Liberation Tigers rejected the accusation Friday, saying the youngsters were about to be taken into care by a orphanage as their mother was abroad and their father had abandoned the family and she (grandmother) was unable to look after them after being displaced by the Asian tsunami.

Real Audio Icon Excerpts from the statement by Mrs. Yogarani, children's aunt

Thusha with her Aunt Yogeswari.


Rajeswaran Nalini (Thusha), 12 and Rajeswaran Sharmila (Thanusha), 11, were being looked after by their grandmother, Periyathambi Sangupathi, 65, in Thirukkovil after the children’s father had abandoned the family and started a new life with another woman and their mother, Rajeswaran Thavamani, had gone abroad on employment.

Mrs. Periyathambi says she was unable to look after the children in the refugee camp at Gayathri village , after being displaced by the tsunamis of December 26.

Speaking to TamilNet Friday, Ms. Thamilini rejected accusations by UNICEF that the children were being recruited by the LTTE.

“We categorically deny the accusation we are recruiting underage persons,” Ms. Thamilini said.

“It is regrettable that UNICEF officials decided to speak to the press before clarifying the details of the matter properly,” Ms. Thamilini said.


Thusha Rajeswaran with her Grandmother Periyathambi Sangupathi

 

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http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=13976