Military claims killing rebel suspect in eastern Sri Lanka
Thu January 5, 2006 09:31 EST .
KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan troops Thursday shot dead a Tamil Tiger rebel suspect, the military said, but pro-rebel reports claimed the victim is a civilian who was not carrying his identification papers.
Military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said that troops on patrol killed the suspected rebel when he tried to attack them with a hand grenade in Kiran, Batticaloa district 220 kilometers (135 miles) east of capital Colombo.
A wire used in anti-personnel mines was also recovered from the suspect after the incident, he added.
However, a pro-rebel Web-site, TamilNet accused the military of killing 24-year-old Rasaratnam Kuganenthiran, a father of one child after he failed to produce his identity card to the patrolling troops.
In a separate attack Thursday, suspected rebels detonated a Claymore anti-personnel mine targeting a military patrol, wounding one soldier near the northern town of Vavuniya, military said. The mine, which can be triggered by remote control, fires hundreds of steel balls propelled by plastic explosives.
No immediate comment was available from the Tamil Tigers and there was no mention of the incidents on the rebels' Web sites.
Meanwhile, security was tight in Trincomalee on Thursday as the funeral of five ethnic Tamils who died earlier in the week under circumstances that the military and the rebels have disputed took place.
The military said the five men were suspected of collaborating with the rebels to ambush a military patrol Monday in Trincomalee when their grenades exploded unexpectedly at a roadside.
However, the rebels said the men came under a grenade attack from government special forces, and the rights group Northeast Secretariat on Human Rights reported that soldiers had opened fire on the victims.
The Defense Ministry announced Wednesday that examinations of the bodies revealed that they had come under gunfire, and ordered an inquiry into the deaths.
The Tamil Tigers began fighting in 1983 for a separate homeland for the country's minority Tamils. A 2002 cease-fire halted the fighting but a wave of attacks over the past month in the country's northeast, most of them bombings and shootings targeting government soldiers, has seriously threatened the truce.
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Published: Thu Jan 5 17:13:01 EST 2006