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Military

Lankan Tigers train 6,000 civilians in armed combat

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, July 3, IRNA
Sri Lanka-LTTE-Civilians
Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger rebels have trained 6,000 civilians in armed combat as part of efforts to intensify its liberation struggle, the move indicating that the insurgents are preparing for an all-out war with Sri Lankan military forces.

"(The) Sinhala government in the south has shown its unwillingness to respect the legitimate rights of Tamil people," Doordarshan News said here quoting S Elilian, a senior rebel leader, as saying during a passing out parade in northeast Sri Lanka.

Elilan was referring to the Sri Lankan government which is dominated by Sinhalese, the country's majority.

"We are forced to strengthen ourselves with the support of Tamil people under the leadership and guidance of our national leader to move the liberation struggle vigorously forward," Elilan was quoted as saying.

Tamilnet carried photos showing the trained volunteers sitting in rows. They did not carry weapons. It said the rebels have provided armed training to 6,000 civilians.

"Villagers who have excelled in shooting practice and competitions related to military training were awarded special prizes," Tamilnet said.

More than 700 people have been killed in violence since April and there are no signs if the Norwegian-brokered peace talks will resume anytime in the future.

A 2002 ceasefire is still holding, but many fear it may break given the increasing violence.

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