Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) today (13th) claimed that they had released 27 child soldiers who were previously recruited by the outfit. According to the LTTE, there are 30 more child soldiers in their ranks, whom they will be releasing in the near future. According to our information, the number of child soldiers still in LTTE's ranks is more than 100 times the number declared by the tigers. These somewhat humorous claims by the LTTE comes at a time when seven divisions of the Sri Lanka Army are in the process of surrounding LTTE's northern stronghold.
It is no secret that the LTTE engages in forcible recruitment to expand the manpower of the organization. It is believed that the manpower of LTTE is somewhere between 20000 and 30000, including the so called civilian militia. Child soldiers play a strong role in the outfit, completely different to the one partrayed by LTTE's claims today. When fresh fighting broke out in 2006, SLA units intercepting LTTE radio transmissions were able to monitor new LTTE formations with new callsigns, indicating that the rebels never stopped recruiting, even during the ceasefire agreement. Most of the less experienced and young fighters of the LTTE are assigned to forward defence line positions to face the battle hardened formations of the Sri Lanka Army. There have been occasions where the Army recovered bodies of child soldiers killed in battle and returned them to the LTTE. In such occasions, pro LTTE Tamilnet could be observed reporting "X number of bodies of youth, which the SLA claims are of LTTE fighters, were handed out" or in a similar format, while never directly accepting that they were in fact child soldiers.