Two Tamil guerrillas killed in fighting with breakaway faction
Mon July 24, 2006 09:45 EDT .
Associated Press Writer
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Two Tamil Tiger guerrillas were killed in a clash with a breakaway faction in eastern Sri Lanka Monday, while the Tigers killed a government soldier in a roadside bomb blast in north, rebels and officials said.
The Tamil Tigers were killed when a group of rebels from a breakaway faction attacked them in a rebel-held village in Ampara district, 220 kilometers (130 miles) east of Colombo, said T. Thuyavan spokesman for the breakaway group.
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels split in March 2004 when a senior commander broke away with some 6,000 followers. The mainstream guerrillas crushed the internal rebellion within a month, but breakaway leaders went into hiding and launch periodic attacks against the Tigers.
Also Monday, a roadside bomb blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels killed one soldier and wounded two others in northern Sri Lanka on Monday, the military said.
The blast targeted government soldiers traveling in a tractor in the district of Vavuniya, a defense ministry official said on condition of anonymity citing official policy, blaming the rebels for the attack.
There was no immediate comment from the LTTE.
Roadside bombs triggered by remote control are the preferred weapon of the rebels, who have been fighting since 1983 for a separate homeland for the country's 3.2 million ethnic Tamil minority, accusing the 14 million Sinhalese majority of discrimination.
Separately, unidentified men fatally shot a Tamil political activist Monday in a Tamil-majority neighborhood of the capital, Colombo.
M. Kanapathipillai, 52, was an activist in the Eelam People's Democratic Party and the public relations officer of Minister Douglas Devananda, a police official said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.
The official said they were attempting to identify the killers and the motive behind the shooting.
Devananda heads the EPDP, a former Tamil militant group that renounced armed struggle and joined mainstream politics about a decade ago.
The party is a coalition partner in the Sri Lankan government, and it blames the rebels for the killings of at least 40 of its members since the 2002 cease-fire between the rebels and the government.
More than 750 people have died in escalating violence in Sri Lanka since December, raising fears the island nation could be plunged back into full-blown civil war.
The conflict killed more than 65,000 people before the Norwegian-brokered truce.
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Published: Mon Jul 24 10:21:09 EDT 2006