Sri Lanka: January 29, 2003

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There is fear that the rebels are using the year old cease fire to rebuild their army for a new round of fighting. Rebel troops are refusing to disarm and it is estimated that 10,000 new rebel troops have been recruited in the past year. Many of these new recruits are teenagers forcibly removed from their families. The government has said it will crack down on this forcible recruiting, but it remains to be seen if the government will risk a resumption of the fighting to do this. 

The rebel recruitment drive, and the importation of new weapons (in violation of the ceasefire) has increased rebel combat strength from 6,000 fighters to 16,000. This build up has not been secret and popular resentment against government inaction, and ceasefire monitors looking the other way, has been growing.

The rebels continue to insist on partition of the island into Tamil and Sinhalese sections. As bad as that is, there is no agreement on exactly where the borders are. 

 

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