Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka recruits more soldiers
Jan 31, 2007 - 10:40:45 PM

Colombo, Jan 31 - The Sri Lankan military said Wednesday it has had very encouraging response to its latest recruitment drive to take more soldiers to fight against Tamil Tiger rebels.

'We have recruited around 2,000 in the campaign - began on Jan 29,' said military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe.

Samarasinghe said more and more would be recruited in the government campaign to eradicate terrorism from the island.

He said a general amnesty that had been granted for the military deserters to return to the fold has been extended.

'The amnesty was granted to the deserters who had left the military after December 2003,' said the spokesman.

'The period of amnesty which was scheduled to end today is extended until Feb 5,' Samarasinghe said, adding that 1,400 of deserters had already returned and they would be reinstated in the same rank they were in at the time of desertion.

Sri Lanka is hoping to recruit more in its campaign against Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam - guerrillas who want to set up a separate homeland for the minority Tamil community.

The military recently recorded a series of victories against the LTTE in the eastern province and the government has vowed to crush the Tigers before inviting them to the negotiating table.

Over 3,900 people have been killed in Sri Lanka's escalating violence since December 2005 despite appeals by the international community on both sides to get back to the negotiating table.

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