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In 1987, 17-year old Niromi de Soyza shocked her middle-class Sri Lankan family by joining the Tamil Tigers. Equipped with a rifle and cyanide capsule she was one of the rebels' first female soldiersthis is her story of her time as a guerrilla. How could it be that a well-educated middle-class Catholic-educated girl like Niromi de Soyza, from a respectable family, came to be fighting with the Tamil Tigers? The Sri Lanka that Niromi knew growing up in Jaffna included daily gun fights, and a systematic campaign by an elected government to wipe out parts of its own population. In a fit of righteous anger and teenage idealism she joined the Tamil Tigers to defend her rights and the lives of her friends and neighbors. Two days before Christmas, in 1987, she found herself, at the age of 17, as part of a small platoon of Tamil Tigers, the majority of them teenage girls, in an ambush by the Sri Lankan Army. With her was her lifelong friend, Ajanthi, also 17. Ajanthi was killed that day as they came under heavy fire. Today she lives with her husband and two young children in Sydneyand now she is telling her amazing story.
Niromi de Soyza now lives in suburban Sydney and works for Sydney University.