Sri Lankan Military: Soldiers destroy rebel bunkers as fighting kills 11 Tamils in north
Sat April 12, 2008 05:12 EDT .
BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Soldiers destroyed two Tamil Tiger rebel bunkers in northern Sri Lanka - while fighting in the region killed 11 separatists and wounded eight soldiers, the military said Saturday.
Fighting between the two sides has sharply increased in recent weeks, with the government vowing to retake Tamil Tiger-controlled territory and crush the rebels after more than two decades of warfare. Diplomats and other observers say the army is facing more resistance than it had expected.
Troops destroyed two rebel bunkers in the village of Kilali on the northern Jaffna peninsula Friday night, a defense ministry official said.
Two soldiers were wounded in the fighting, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity citing government regulations. He did not have details of rebel casualties.
Also Friday, soldiers killed four rebels in a battle in Vavuniya district, just south of rebel-held territory, the official said. One soldier was wounded in the fighting.
Other battles in Jaffna and Welioya regions left seven rebels dead and five soldiers wounded, he said.
Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan could not be reached for comment.
It was not possible to independently verify the military's claim because journalists are barred from the conflict zone. Both sides commonly exaggerate their enemies' casualties while underplaying their own.
The Tamil Tigers have been fighting since 1983 for an independent homeland for minority ethnic Tamils, who were marginalized for decades by governments dominated by the Sinhalese majority. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the fighting.
Published: Sat Apr 12 09:48:00 EDT 2008