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From weapons to lipstick: former Tamil Tigers prepare to return home

Ishara S. Kodikara / AFP - Getty Images

Former Tamil Tiger rebels prepare backstage during a rehabilitation official ceremony fashion show in Colombo on March 29. The program to release nearly 400 former combatants to their families. Officials said more than 10,000 ex-combatants have been rehabilitated and released to their families since the war ended in May 2009.

Ishara S. Kodikara / AFP - Getty Images

Sri Lankan former Tamil Tiger dancers perform during an official ceremony for former Tamil Tiger rebels in Colombo on March 29. The program to release nearly 400 former combatants to their families. Officials said more than 10,000 ex-combatants have been rehabilitated and released to their families since the war ended in May 2009.

The Tamil Tigers were a notorious terrorist group in Sri Lanka, beginning in 1983. In their efforts to create an independent Tamil state, they enlisted women in suicide attacks that terrorized the country for over 20 years. According to the FBI, they are credited with inventing the suicide belt. These attacks lead to the death of tens of thousands of people, according to TIME:

The LTTE (the group is formally known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) has bombed public buildings and transportation hubs, Buddhist temples and other locations, and is known for missions involving female suicide bombers and for recruitment of child soldiers. Fighters reportedly wear cyanide capsules around their necks that they swallow if they are about to be captured by government forces.

The conflict in Sri Lanka largely came to an end when the rebels were defeated in May 2009, but the lasting effects of the war are still present. It is encouraging to see that these women are being offered some assistance in rebuilding their lives.

Ishara S. Kodikara / AFP - Getty Images

Former Tamil Tiger rebels prepare backstage during a rehabilitation official ceremony fashion show in Colombo on March 29. The program to release nearly 400 former combatants to their families. Officials said more than 10,000 ex-combatants have been rehabilitated and released to their families since the war ended in May 2009.

Ishara S. Kodikara / AFP - Getty Images

Former Tamil Tiger rebels prepare backstage during a rehabilitation official ceremony fashion show in Colombo on March 29. The program to release nearly 400 former combatants to their families. Officials said more than 10,000 ex-combatants have been rehabilitated and released to their families since the war ended in May 2009.

Ishara S. Kodikara / AFP - Getty Images

Former Tamil Tiger rebels prepare backstage during a rehabilitation official ceremony fashion show in Colombo on March 29. The program to release nearly 400 former combatants to their families. Officials said more than 10,000 ex-combatants have been rehabilitated and released to their families since the war ended in May 2009.