Thursday, July 20, 2006

12 soldiers killed in Tiger clash

Colombo At least 12 Sri Lankan soldiers and four Tamil Tiger rebels were killed in a firefight in the island’s restive east, truce monitors said, in one of the worst military clashes since a ceasefire in 2002.

Nordic monitors and Red Cross officials said they had seen the corpses, while the military said a thirteenth soldier was still missing and four others were injured.

The Tigers said that they had shot dead 22 people in the firefight, and said the balance likely belonged to a breakaway faction of former comrades led by renegade commander Karuna, whom they accuse the military of helping to mount attacks.

Kayal Viliyan, a senior rebel in the Tigers’ eastern political office in the district of Batticaloa, said that around 60 troops had entered Tiger territory and been surrounded by about 200 rebels.

“The government does not want to admit the number of Karuna people killed in the attack,” he added.

It was not immediately clear why the Tigers did not show the Red Cross evidence of any dead Karuna fighters killed in the clash in Batticaloa.


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