Four killed in renewed SRI LANKA violence


17/05/2006 - Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels detonated two mines in eastern Sri Lanka today, killing two soldiers and a policeman, the military said, in continuing violence that threatens to push the island nation back into civil war.


(16.05.2006)




A mine exploded near soldiers patrolling on foot in a village bordering eastern Batticaloa district, 140 miles east of the capital, Colombo, killing two soldiers and injuring one, said military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe.

In a separate blast, one policeman was killed in eastern Ampara district, Samarasinghe said.

Also today, a Tamil civilian was shot and killed by unknown gunmen in the streets of the northern town of Jaffna.

He was identified as Selvarasa Sritharan, 35. The identity of the assailants or the motive for the shooting was not immediately known.

Some 65,000 people were killed in the conflict between the minority Tamils and the majority Sinhalese before a 2002 Norway-brokered cease-fire, which is now on the verge of collapse.

The latest violence comes a day after a senior rebel official said the guerrillas are ready for a resumption of war and a United States envoy encouraged the European Union to list the rebels as terrorists.

Rebel leader Seevaratnam Puleedevan said surging hostilities had turned into a "low-intensity war" and his guerrillas were ready to fight if the war was thrust on them, blaming the government for targeting Tamil civilians. The government hasdenied the allegation.

The violence has killed more than 180 people since the beginning of April, including government forces, rebels and civilians, with each side blaming the other.

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels have fought the government since 1983 to create a separate state for ethnic minority Tamils, accusing majority Sinhalese of discrimination.

Von: 17.05.2006, http://breakingnews.iol.ie

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