COLOMBO : Sri Lanka’s security authorities are searching for 30,000 army deserters nearly five years after ending a decades-long separatist war with Tamil Tiger guerrillas, the military said Saturday. Police across the country have been told to track down deserters who failed to accept several offers of leniency, military spokesman Ruwan Wanigasooriya said. “Out of nearly 60,000 listed as deserters, about half have responded and we are looking for the others,” Wanigasooriya told AFP. “Steps are being taken to arrest them.”

The defence ministry told parliament Friday there were 267 officers and 59,267 from other ranks listed as deserters, according to local media reports.