Sri Lanka arrests over 36,400 army desertersMay 7th, 2012 - 7:55 pm ICT by IANS
Colombo, May 7 (IANS) Sri Lanka has arrested over 36,400 soldiers who had deserted the army following the end of a three-decade-long civil war with the Tamil Tigers, a military spokesman said Monday.
Army spokesman Ruwan Wanigasooriya said during the first three months of 2012, over 2,500 ex-soldiers were arrested and dealt with under military law, reported Xinhua.
Over the past two decades, around 65,000 soldiers have deserted the army and since the end of war in 2009, over 36,400 of them have been arrested.
“There are another 1,000 to be arrested and the deserters have become an administrative burden to the country’s army,” Wanigasooriya said.
Sri Lanka’s army numbers around 200,000 but the deserters have become a problem in maintaining the figure.
“Following the end of war in May 2009, we gave a number of opportunities for those deserters to return and clear their files and leave the army officially,” Wanigasooriya said.
He added while short-term absentees of one or two months have to face a summary procedure, those long-term absentees would be dealt by the court martial under the military law.
More than 21,000 soldiers were killed in the battle against the LTTE.
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Tags: absentees, administrative burden, army deserters, army spokesman, civil war, colombo, decade, decades, first three months, ltte, military law, military spokesman, ruwan, sri lanka, tamil tigers, xinhua