Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Child soldiers released after rehabilitation

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Seven hundred and twelve (712 ) cadres, including LTTE child soldiers, who gave up weapons, have been released. All of them were rehabilitated in the Vavuniya Social Welfare village. President Mahinda Rajapaksa handed them over to their parents.

These innocent children had been conscripted by the LTTE and were trained to handle weapons merely to make Prabhakaran's Eelam dream a reality. They had to dedicate their childhood for this purpose.

The President succeeded in liberating the country from terrorism and thereby creating an environment for them to return to leading normal lives after rehabilitating them.

Expressing his views on this occasion, President Rajapaksa said that an opportunity would not arise again for the Northern children to fight for a terrorist organization, taking to arms instead of the school bag.

The President said there will be no sound of gunfire. They do not need injured or dying civilians. Everyone should join hands and unite for a brighter future. The children should be granted a proper education and secure a dignified job, enabling them to lead a disciplined life. The President underlined that a young generation respecting religious leaders and parents should be moulded.

The children who underwent rehabilitation and who were released said they are indebted to the President for ensuring them a secure life and a better future.

Parents of these children expressed their gratitude to the President to the environment created for their children to return to society after liberating them from the ruthless terrorists.