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Almost 9,000 Sri Lankan military deserters receive legal discharge

Nearly 9,000 Sri Lankan army soldiers who deserted the military have received a legal discharge during an amnesty period declared by Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence.

The month long amnesty has only been running for two weeks, but Sri Lankan military spokesperson Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera said that already a total of 8852 deserters - 8099 from Army, 418 Navy and 335 from Air Force - have obtained clearance and legal discharge.

More than 25,000 Sri Lankan soldiers are thought to have deserted the military in the army alone, with a further 7,137 Naval troops and 510 in the Air Force troops declared Absent Without Official Leave (AWOL).

During the amnesty period, the military has declared any deserters will not be arrested or detained, and instead will be given the option to continue serving in the military if they wish.