The Web Sri Lanka In Focus

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Heavy Fighting Kills 71 Rebels In Sri Lanka

At least 71 Tamil Tiger rebels were killed in fierce fighting with the government troops in the country's embattled northern region, officials said on Saturday.

A school used by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a training camp in the region had also been captured, according to reports.

The rebels were killed in a series of separate fights.

As many as 30 rebels were killed in Pandivirichchan in North-west Mannar in fighting with troops on Friday, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported quoting the state-owned Rupavahini Television reports.

At least 10 Tamil Tigers rebels were killed on Friday when security personnel captured a land stretch of 700 meters in the Illanthevan area of Mannar after destroying two LTTE bunkers, officials said.

At least seven militants were killed in clashes with army in Kilaly and Muhamalai on Friday, according to the defense ministry.

In a separate incident, as many as three LTTE cadres were shot dead in Nagarkovil in Jaffna region on Friday, the ministry said.

There was no immediate comment from the LTTE, but a soldier died on Friday after accidentally touching a live electric fence along the northern defense line, the AFP reported quoting a pro-rebel website. The military did not comment.

Security forces have killed at least 2,418 rebels since the beginning of January, while only 147 government soldiers have died in action, the defense ministry confirmed.

The government casualty numbers and those given by the Tigers cannot be independently confirmed as Colombo bars journalists and rights groups from front line areas.

The rebels have been battling for an independent homeland since 1972 in an ethnic conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Source: AHN