Children 'being kidnapped from Sri Lanka refugee camps'

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Colombo, May 21 (ANI): Children are reportedly being abducted from refugee camps in Sri Lanka, apparently with the tacit approval of the Rajapaksa government, human rights groups have claimed.

The Telegraph quoted The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers as saying that it had received verified reports of child abductions from camps in the main resettlement area of Vavuniya, often by paramilitary Tamil groups.

Children as young as 12 are among those taken, the coalition said, suggesting that paramilitaries - who had allied with the military in the fight against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) - are being used to identify and weed out former Tiger child soldiers.

The paramilitary groups have been allowed "unhindered" access to the camps that are tightly guarded by government troops, it said.

The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers is an umbrella group of global organizations that includes Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

"The motive is slightly unclear," said Charu Lata Hogg, a spokeswoman for the groups.

The military declared its final victory over the LTTE on Monday, ending a decades-old conflict that has claimed up to 100,000 lives. (ANI)

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