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Wednesday, 8 October, 2003, 17:15 GMT 18:15 UK
Sri Lanka 'child abuse' arrests

Ten men, including two Buddhist monks, have been arrested in Sri Lanka in connection with allegations of sexual abuse of at least 11 boys in an orphanage in the capital, Colombo.

Two hundred and seventy boys and girls - many of them war orphans - are currently being questioned by police officers attached to the country's National Child Protection Agency.

The head of the agency, Harendra de Silva, said it was possible other alleged child victims would come forward as the 120 girls in the home had not been interviewed yet.

Those thought to have been abused were mostly Sinhalese but included one Muslim boy as well as three Tamils.

An official at the children's home said the two monks arrested were not from the orphanage itself but from a nearby Buddhist temple.

The same official alleged that a lady had come to the home and paid the children money to make false allegations against the monks.

The child protection agency says the 10 arrested men will be charged in court and under amendments to the law will face very tough penalties if found guilty.

Mr Silva said they had investigated about 15 cases in the past seven years where Buddhist monks were implicated in child abuse but he said the judicial process was slow.

See also:

07 Oct 03 | South Asia
09 Feb 99 | South Asia
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