Military: Sri Lanka fighting kills 21
Mon September 15, 2008 06:33 EDT .
- - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A series of battles between the Sri Lankan military and the Tamil Tigers along the front lines of their civil war killed 20 rebel fighters and one government soldier, the military said Monday.
The violence occurred amid a resurgent government offensive that has captured large sections of the rebels' de facto state in the north in recent weeks.
In the heaviest fighting Sunday, troops along the Welioya front killed eight rebels in scattered battles, while one soldier was killed by a bomb blast, the military said in a statement.
A further 12 rebels were killed in fighting in the Vavuniya, Kilinochchi and Jaffna regions, the military said.
With most of the lines of communication to the north cut, it was not possible to reach rebel officials for comments. It is difficult to verify reports released by either side because journalists are banned from the war zone.
Analysts accuse both sides of exaggerating enemy casualties and underreporting their own.
The Tamil Tiger rebels have fought for an independent state in the north and east of the Indian ocean island since 1983, following decades of marginalization of ethnic Tamils by governments dominated by the Sinhalese majority. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
Published: Mon Sep 15 07:26:21 EDT 2008