London, May 31 (ANI): Tamil children in Sri Lanka as young as 11 years were forced at gunpoint to fight for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in civil war.
Darchiga Kuken, a former Tamil Tiger child soldier interned at the Ambepusse rehabilitation centre after escaping from the rebels.
Kuken was sheltering in a bunker in the Mullaitivu area when a group of about 20 Tamil Tiger soldiers arrived and demanded that she went with them.
"I was sick with chicken pox. My mother and father were screaming and crying, saying that I was sick and pleading with them not to take me," The Guarduan quoted her, as saying.
The men went away. And then at 5 p.m. on March 14 they came back. They called me to come out and then they grabbed me and put me in a jeep. I started to cry.
The 16-year-old is now being held in what the government describes as a "rehabilitation center", a jungle camp built on a hillside outside the town of Ambepusse in the south of the country.
Here children like her, who were forced to fight on the front line in the final stages of the war in Sri Lanka, gave the Observer compelling evidence of war crimes committed by the LTTE.
The camp currently houses 95 children, with another 200 on their way from internment camps around the town of Vavuniya in the north of the country.
The accounts of these boys and girls who surrendered to the Sri Lankan army were shocking. They say they were dragged screaming from their families and sent into action with only a few days of basic training.
The older members of the LTTE warned them to keep firing and advancing, or their own side from behind would shoot them, The Guardian reports.
Those who did try to escape said their own side fired on them. Children who were recaptured had their hair shaved off to mark them as deserters and boys were beaten. (ANI)