Military: 6 troops, 15 rebels killed in Sri Lanka fighting
Thu May 1, 2008 02:47 EDT .
- - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Suspected Tamil rebels detonated a roadside bomb in government-controlled territory in northern Sri Lanka - on Thursday, killing two police officers and sparking a clash that left two rebels dead, the military said.
Other battles in the north killed 13 rebels and four soldiers, the military said in a statement.
Two officers from the elite police Special Task Force unit were inspecting an area in the northern Anuradhapura district just south of the war zone when Tamil Tiger rebels detonated a buried mine, the military said.
The blast killed the officers and led to a fierce battle that killed two of the rebels, it said.
In other violence, 10 rebels were killed Wednesday in fighting in the Mannar area, while three guerrillas and four soldiers were killed in the Vavuniya and Welioya districts, the military said.
Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan was not immediately available for comment.
Both sides commonly exaggerate their enemy's casualties while underreporting their own. It was not possible to verify the details independently because the war zone is restricted to reporters.
The latest violence came after a sprawling battle with insurgents in Mannar on Wednesday that the military said killed 51 rebels and no troops.
The military said its forces seized a key Tamil Tiger base in that battle, which lasted much of the day and spread to adjoining villages. The troops were backed by fighter jets and artillery and mortar fire, the military said.
A pro-rebel Web site reported seven soldiers were killed in that fighting. It did not mention the base that the military claimed to have seized or any rebel casualties.
Fighting has escalated along the northern front lines since the government withdrew from a long-ignored cease-fire in January.
The rebels have fought since 1983 to create an independent homeland for minority ethnic Tamils, who have been marginalized by successive governments controlled by the Sinhalese majority. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the violence.Discuss this story
Published: Thu May 1 04:16:16 EDT 2008