of Eelam come join us’
The LTTE launches a fresh recruitment
drive for an auxiliary force, with newspaper advertisements offering
an attractive package
Chirs Kamalendran in Kilinochchi
The LTTE was busy building up its depleted military
strength by launching a fresh recruitment drive for an auxiliary
force, this week – with newspaper advertisements calling on
'citizens of Thamil Eelam' to apply.
recruiting method this time is different. Instead of the usual forced
conscription and bloated propaganda including video footages of
previous military feats, for the first time the LTTE placed advertisements
in two Tamil papers- Uthayan and Eelanathan- calling young men and
women to join the movement.
the 'Thamil Eelam' citizenship, the only criterion required from
an applicant was good health. Educational qualifications were not
necessary. While the advertisements specified an age limit of 18-25
years, it said if people with experience walked into the interview
centre – the LTTE's police headquarters in Kilinochchi –
the age-limit requirement would be waived.
applicants have been offered an attractive salary of Rs. 8,500 plus
free meals, free medical facilities and free transport. On Wednesday
young men and women were seen queuing up at the LTTE police headquarters
for the interviews that will continue for a week. This current recruitment
drive is aimed at filling about 1500 vacancies created by the Karuna
applicants turned up without files or documents, but they had to
face three interviews including a thorough screening to establish
whether they were 'citizens of Thamil Eelam'. The interviews are
conducted by the LTTE Police that has 24 'police stations' in operation
in the north and east.
Police Chief Balasingham Mahendran alias Nadesan said the applicants
would be thoroughly screened and their identities and loyalties
established in a bid to prevent any infiltration by rival factions.
aim is to give some recognition to the cadres joining our forces.
They will know that they will be serving 'Thamil Eelam'. That is
why we have called for 'Citizens of Thamil Eelam', Nadesan, a former
police constable of the Sri Lanka Police told The Sunday Times.
These new recruits who will undergo a six month military training
will be known as an auxiliary force and will act as a standby military
aim of the newspaper ads appears to be two fold. One to shield the
LTTE from allegations of forced conscription and the other to show
that the LTTE's recruitment process was as formal as any other recognised
Karuna rebellion is not the only reason for the recent desertions
faced by the LTTE. The freedom of movement as a result of the ceasefire
agreement has opened up job opportunities in the South for these
young cadres. Some of them have also come to Colombo with the hope
of seeking employment abroad.
the LTTE Police chief Nadesan does not admit that the fresh recruitment
drive has been launched to build up the military wing that has been
struck by desertions. He says these youth are being recruited to
be assigned for job oriented projects that would come up under the
administrative structure of the LTTE." These cadres will be
used as a standby fighting force if the necessity arises,"
said after the six-month training the youth will be assigned to
projects in various sectors including rehabilitation, road construction
and building construction, forest conservation and agriculture.
The Sunday Times learns that these are mere fronts of the LTTE to
retain the cadres until they are needed as a fighting force.
attractive salary offered by the LTTE is the highest offered to
an 'auxillary force' so far and is expected to be an additional
burden on the LTTE's budget. The money will be provided from Prabhakaran's
Fund. According to intitial estimates the LTTE would have to spend
over Rs. 10 million a month for salaries.
the first day of the interview more than 50 applicants turned up
from various parts of the north and east including Mannar and Batticaloa
(See separate story)
them were applicants who were above the age limit but were being
considered because of their previous experience in the LTTE military
wing. But, a majority of them were young people who were looking
for employment. The LTTE police stations had also been directed
to accommodate any applicant who called over at the stations and
pass on the details to the headquarters.
UNICEF blasts LTTE’s child recruitment
UNICEF yesterday slammed the LTTE for accelerating the
recruitment of children below 18 years, despite a pledge in April
they were planning to release the children in their movement.
UNICEF yesterday said it had received 159 reports of children being
recruited by the LTTE, mostly in the North of the country since
April. They said that the East has also been affected by the recruitment
drive in Batticaloa and Ampara districts where there has been 26
cases of new recruitment and 30 cases of re-recruitment in the past
Sunday Times learns that many of the cases of child recruitment
was going unreported and only a few cases were being reported to
the UNICEF or the Scandinavian monitors.
April, the LTTE officially released 269 children and expressed a
willingness to provide formal release letters for over 1,300 other
children who went home when Karuna disbanded his cadres.
April returns were a big step forward by the LTTE. However, this
has been completely undermined by continued recruitment of new children
over the past couple of months," Ted Chaiban, UNICEF's Representative
in Sri Lanka was quoted in the UNICEF statement.
cannot continue any longer. These children must be released immediately
and steps taken at the highest levels of the LTTE to ensure children
are no longer taken by the organization," he said.
LTTE has not lived up to its commitment to end once and for all
the practice of taking children into its ranks. A real and genuine
effort must be made to exclude children from their recruitment drives.
They must respect the commitments they have made", Mr. Chaiban
has repeatedly asked the LTTE to release all the children in its
ranks," he said. "We have also asked the LTTE to take
a few simple steps such as ensuring that radio and trishaw announcements
and pamphlets calling for recruitment specifically state that no
one under the age of 18 will be accepted into the organization and
that they require proof of age from all youth to ensure that no
one under the age of 18 is recruited."
of these steps have been taken. These are easy things the LTTE could
be doing to show the world they take the issue of child recruitment
seriously," he added.
they came from far and near
The Sunday Times spoke to some of the applicants who called
over at the headquarters to join the auxiliary force
N. Augustine Andrew (34) of Kilinochchi
I have been doing odd jobs for a living and decided to come for
the interview in the hope of getting an attractive permanent salary.
I am joining voluntarily and I know if fighting breaks out I will
have to get involved.
Sarojini (19) - of Sampur Trincomalee
Many of my friends have joined the LTTE from my village. From my
childhood days I had the yearning to join the LTTE. I have witnessed
heavy fighting in my village so I am used to battle. My father is
dead and my mother sells vegetables at the village fair. By joining
the auxiliary force I will be able support my family and my sister's
Dharshini (24) - of Amirthakali, Batticaloa
I came for the interview after seeing the advertisement in the Eelanthan
Batticaloa edition. Many innocent people have been killed in Batticaloa
and I can do my bit to protect them if I join this force. Though
I have completed my A/Levels I haven't been able to find a job.
So I decided to join the LTTE. I have told my parents to forget
(22) - of Chavakachcheri
My father struggles to support us by doing odd jobs. By joining
this force I will be able to be a part of the LTTE's struggle to
uplift the lives of the Tamil people. No one forced me to join up.