SRI JAYAWARDENAPURA-KOTTE, Sri Lanka, April 30 (UPI) -- Former Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka accused ex-comrades of war crimes, alleging they killed more than 200 Tamil civilians trying to escape a "no-fire zone."
In a video interview released by the Sri Lankan government, Daya Master, a former Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam spokesman, and V.K. Pencharatnam, a former aide to the group's senior leadership, also claimed that Tiger rebels forcibly recruited children as young as 12 and 13 to fight in the no-fire zone.
Parents who resisted their children's recruitment were beaten, they said.
It is not clear if the two men, who surrendered to the government earlier this month, gave their statements under duress or following inducements, The Daily Telegraph (Britain) reported Thursday.
A United Nations spokesman urged caution over the claims, but said the allegations appeared supported by independent U.N. reports of fleeing civilians being shot and parents who resisted Tiger recruitment attempts being executed, the newspaper said.
Tamil Tigers have waged a violent secessionist campaign since 1976 to create an independent Tamil state in northern and eastern Sri Lanka. The campaign has evolved into the Sri Lankan Civil War, one of Asia's longest-running armed conflicts.