Sri Lanka promise on resettling refugees

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Sri Lanka says it intends to have tens of thousands of civilians who were displaced in the recent war resettled within six months.

The government says it is working to resettle those who lost their homes and to democratise the country’s north.

The area was the scene of fierce fighting that led to the rout of the separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas.

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, who is leading an official delegation to India, says Colombo is getting all the assistance needed to help the displaced get back into work like agriculture, fisheries and livestock raising.

He told reporters Colombo has begun rebuilding roads and bridges damaged in the fighting and hopes to resettle the bulk of the people within a 180-day program.

Nearly 300,000 civilians who fled Sri Lanka’s war zone are detained in temporary shelters which the government calls “welfare villages”.