Women rebels agree to remove belts

COLOMBO: Scandinavian truce monitors announced yesterday that the Tamil Tiger rebels had agreed to order their women combatants to remove leather belts which had raised the ire of Sri Lankan soldiers. 

Mobs led by Tiger rebels clashed with government forces in the northern peninsula of Jaffna four days ago after a government soldier forcibly tried to remove the offending guerilla belt from one of the Tiger women combatants. 

Under the Norwegian-arranged truce, combatants from both sides can move into the areas controlled by the other as long as they are unarmed and out of uniform and after giving prior notice of their travel. 

Security forces maintained that although the women fighters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were dressed in civilian clothes, they wore leather belts over their jackets to indicate they were guerilla fighters. 

“LTTE cadres wearing military uniform type of belts will voluntarily remove such belts before entering into government-controlled areas and will not wear them while staying in government-controlled areas,” the monitors, known as the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), said in a statement yesterday. 

“LTTE cadres that do not follow this procedure will be denied access to government-controlled areas. If LTTE cadres do not follow this procedure, the forces ... will immediately call for SLMM assistance.” – AFP  

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