Lanka rebels sign up child soldiers for final battle: Unicef | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 18, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 18, 2009

Lanka rebels sign up child soldiers for final battle: Unicef

Tamilian activists of 'Voice for Eelam Tamil' hold placards during a protest in New Delhi yesterday against the Sri Lankan army's actions against the Tamil community. The activists are demanding that the government of India stop helping the Sinhalese government in its war against the Tamil people and recognise their liberation struggle.Photo: AFP

Sri Lanka's cornered Tamil Tiger rebels have intensified conscription of child soldiers, some as young as 14, the United Nations agency for children said yesterday.
Unicef's statement came as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam prepared to take a last stand against advancing government forces.
"We have clear indications that the LTTE has intensified forcible recruitment of civilians and that children as young as 14 years old are now being targeted," Philippe Duamelle, Unicef's chief in Sri Lanka, said.
Sri Lankan troops appear on the verge of crushing the rebels' 37-year campaign for an independent Tamil homeland after a series of battlefield victories across the northeast of the island.
The Tigers, who are encircled in a small patch of jungle, lashed out at the United Nations on Tuesday after it accused them of shooting civilians who try to escape the bloody conflict.
The UN said the Tigers have detained tens of thousands of non-combatants inside rebel-held territory and "a growing number of people trying to leave have been shot and sometimes killed" as they seek safety.

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