Tamil rebels kidnap 23 students in Sri Lanka: military

Dec 19, 2006 (AFP) – Tamil guerrillas seized 23 students and two teachers and took them to a military training facility in eastern Sri Lanka, the defence ministry said Tuesday.

The teenagers, who were attending a night tuition class in Ampara district were taken on Monday to a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) training camp at Kanjikudichchiaru, the ministry said in a statement.

“The devastated parents of the abducted children have made a complaint to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) and have afterwards left … in search of their children,” the statement said.

However, there was no independent confirmation of the report which listed 16 girls and seven boys as missing.

Norwegian-led monitors said they had no immediate information about the incident while the UN children’s fund UNICEF also said they were also awaiting to hear from field officers in the reported abduction area.

LTTE rebels and a breakaway faction operating in the island’s east have been accused of conscripting child soldiers while the military too was blamed recently by the United Nations for colluding in forced recruitment.

The military has denied supporting the bre