Sri Lankan gov't releases more ex-rebels after rehabilitation

13:47, May 19, 2010      

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The Sri Lankan government on Tuesday released 495 exTamil Tiger rebels who had surrendered to the government forces during the final phase of the civil war and undergone rehabilitation in the welfare camps in Northern Province, military officials said.

Sudantha Ranasinghe, commissioner general of Rehabilitation, told reporters that the new batch of 495 ex-LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam) cadres were handed over to their parents and relatives after rehabilitation at a function held in Jaffna, about 390 km north of the capital Colombo.

About 280,000 civilians were camped in the Northern Province at the final phase of the war between the government troops and the LTTE in May 2009. Of them, about 11,000 were identified as ex-LTTE cadres and sent to rehabilitation camps operated by the government.

"We have rehabilitated 198 school children who had been recruited to the LTTE by force, at Ratmalana Hindu College in Colombo suburb," Ranasinghe said, adding that 72 university students who had also been recruited to the LTTE by force will be sent to respective universities.

He said the government has reintegrated ex-rebel cadres to society and they should be considered as normal citizens.

Ranasinghe said over 2,000 exLTTE cadres including 847 females, 253 children and 55 university students have already been released after rehabilitation.

The LTTE had been fighting for a separate Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka's Northern and Eastern provinces since the mid-19980s, but it was defeated by the government troops last year and the government announced the war victory on May 19, 2009.

The government said 5,272 government soldiers were killed and about 28,000 injured in the island's bloody civil war.

The government has organized a series of events to celebrate the first anniversary of the war victory but they have been postponed indefinitely due to the bad weather conditions prevailing in Colombo from Friday.

Source: Xinhua
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