Price of Sri Lanka's army expansion is paid in grief

Article Date: 
22 Feb 2009

But it's the rice- and coconut-growing areas such as Kuliyapitiya district with its 150,000 population that have paid the highest toll. The government's all-volunteer army has found fertile ground for recruiting in rural areas where job prospects are limited and the army offers adventure, a uniform and a decent paycheck of about $200 a month. "Join the winning side," says a nationwide radio advertisement.

Recently, funerals in these parts have been running about two or three a week, said Chandana Bulathsinhala, an aide to the local opposition lawmaker, adding steadily, relentlessly, to the area's estimated 5,000 casualties since the war's inception -- a staggering one in 30 people.

Article Source: 
Los Angeles Times