SLA recruiting children - Opposition leader
| Date: 19980508
"The security forces are campaigning in schools, to encourage 15 year old school children to join the army. When I comment on this, they call me a traitor. If it is so, is Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar also a traitor, who is campaigning in foreign countries saying that LTTE is recruiting children to their forces?", asked Opposition Leader Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe in the parliament yesterday.
He pointed out that the Army has launched a campaign in schools to recruit school children into the army while Mr. Olara Otunnu, UN Special Representative on Children in Armed Conflict is visiting the country.
However, Mangala Samaraweera, Minister for Media, Post and Telecommunications denied that the government has plans to recruit school children.
"There is no truth in the news that the Government is planning to recruit school children in the Army and implement conscription to boost up the Army's strength.
The government has made no such decision. This news was fabricated at a time when the UN special envoy Mr. Olara Otunnu is visiting the Country", said Samaraweera while speaking at the weekly press meeting held at the Parliamentary complex yesterday.
"The Tigers are doing propaganda on this issue. Ranil Wickramasinghe says that Deputy Minister of Defence, Anuruddha Ratwatte has announced plans to recruit 15000 school children in the Army to see that his image is not affected.
Doesn't the Opposition leader wish the troops of Operation Jayasikurui to advance towards Kilinochchi?", asked minister at the press meeting.