Tigers holding seven boys for military training: officials
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam said that members of their eastern units in Amparai had taken the children away by mistake.india Updated: Dec 21, 2006 11:19 IST
Tamil Tiger rebels who seized 22 teenagers in eastern Sri Lanka freed 15 girls but were holding seven boys for military training, local officials have said.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said members of their eastern units had taken the children away by mistake on Monday night in Amparai district and the regional commanders were ordered to free all of them.
However, local officials in the area said that parents were still trying to secure the release of the boys, who had been deprived of sitting for a national-level examination.
LTTE military spokesman Rasiah Ilanthiriyan said they suspended the field commanders who had carried out the kidnappings, but there was no immediate comment on the holding of the boys aged 14 to 16 years.
The youngsters, who were attending a night tuition class, were taken to an LTTE training camp at Kanjikudichchiaru, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
Norwegian-led monitors said they had no immediate information about the incident while the UN children's fund, UNICEF, said it was also waiting to hear from field officers in the abduction area.
LTTE rebels and a breakaway Tiger faction, the "Karuna group", have both been accused of conscripting child soldiers.
The Sri Lankan government was also recently accused by the United Nations of colluding with the Karuna group to forcibly recruit child fighters, a charge officials in Colombo denied.
First Published: Dec 21, 2006 11:19 IST