Tamil Tigers holding seven boys for military training: officials

Dec 20, 2006 (AFP) – Tamil Tiger rebels who seized 22 teenagers in eastern Sri Lanka freed 15 girls but were holding seven boys for military training, local officials said Wednesday. The Sri Lankan government was also recently accused by the United Nations of colluding with the Karuna group to forcibly recruit child fighters, a charge officials in Colombo denied.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said members of their eastern units had taken the children away by mistake on Monday night in Ampara district and the regional commanders were ordered to free all of them.

However, local officials in the area said that parents were still trying to secure the release of the boys, who had been deprived of sitting for a national-level examination.

LTTE military spokesman Rasiah Ilanthiriyan said they suspended the field commanders who had carried out the kidnappings, but there was no immediate comment on the holding of the boys aged 14 to 16 years.

The youngsters, who were attending a night tuition class, were taken to an LTTE training camp at Kanjikudichchiaru, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

Norwegian-led monitors said they had no immediate i