Sri Lanka army to reduce presence in northern Jaffna

AP In this May 23, 2009, photo, the abandoned devastation is seen in this aerial photo showing part of the former conflict zone on the north east coast of the Jaffna peninsula in Sri Lanka. (PTI)The Sri Lanka army has said that it would reduce the number of military camps in the former rebel stronghold of northern Jaffna and hand over lands back to their original owners.

“We will reduce the existing 17 military camps in Jaffna to just three,” Army chief Lt Gen Jagath Jayasuriya said.

The fourteen camps pulled out from different parts of Jaffna would be relocated in the main Palaly cantonment, he said on Tuesday.

Lands on which the camps were located would be handed back to their original owners and lands that would be difficult to be handed back due to national security considerations would be subject to compensation, he said.

Sri Lanka has come under international pressure for de-escalation of the military presence in Jaffna which is considered crucial to achieving reconciliation with the Tamil minority.

AP In this July 25, 2011 photo, Sri Lankan ethnic Tamil children play in front of a war damaged building in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. For the ethnic Tamils living in the former war zone in the north, it is still a saga of haunted memories, military occupation and missing loved ones. [Full Coverage]

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