LTTE returns five Batticaloa youths to their parents

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 22 January 2003, 03:54 GMT]
Five youths under 16 years who approached the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) political offices in Batticaloa expressing their wish to join the movement were returned to their parents Tuesday in the presence of members of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), sources in Batticaloa said.

Two 14-year old youths were from Vinayagapuram in Valaichenai had gone to the Aandaankulakottam office were returned by head of political section of the area, Mr. Thothiran. Ulf Bjornfors and Rasiah Balendran of SLMM witnessed the handing over.

Thothiran handing over underage children
14-year youths being handed over to parents in the presence of Balendran and Bjornfors of SLMM
Meanwhile, three youths from Navalady who went to the Maamangam political office expressing their desire to join the movement and obtain weapons training were handed over to their parents by head of political section of Maamangam, Mr. Jothipalan after notifying the Batticaloa district political head, Mr. Senathi. The event took place Tuesday afternoon in the presence of members of SLMM.

"We are strictly adhering to the principle of not admitting anyone below 18 years into our movement. There is intense propaganda by nefarious elements that we are abducting children from villages and schools. We have never recruited under-age children and we will not do so in the future. The handing over events illustrate that we are strictly abiding by the international law of not allowing children under 18 years old to participate in armed conflicts," said Jothipalan.

 

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