|Sri Lankan military says 47 killed in fighting|
|Tuesday, 02 September 2008|
Government forces fought fierce battles with ethnic Tamil separatists along Sri Lanka's northern front lines in a wave of fighting that killed 43 rebels and four soldiers, the military said Tuesday.The bloodshed came amid weeks of escalating violence in the area, as government troops pushed deep into rebel-held territory, seizing key Tamil Tiger bases and towns that had long been under rebel control.
Battles raged Tuesday over the key town of Mallavi, which lies along an important northern road used by the rebels, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said."We have taken over about three-quarters of the area," he said. "It's not cleared yet."In the worst of Monday's fighting, troops captured six bunkers in the Nachchikuda area of Kilinochchi region, killing 26 rebels, the military said. Fighting in the area also killed two soldiers, it said.
Air force jets pounded a facility where the rebels stored mortar shells north of Nachchikuda on Tuesday morning, the military said.Battles across the Welioya, Mullaittivu and Vavuniya regions killed another 17 rebels and two soldiers, the military reported.The rebel-affiliated TamilNet Web site, citing unnamed Tamil Tiger officials, said at least seven soldiers were killed in the fighting at Nachchikuda.
With most communication cut with the northern areas, rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan could not be reached for comment. Verification of the military claims was not possible because journalists are banned from the war zone. Both sides have been accused of exaggerating enemy casualties and underreporting their own.
The Tamil Tiger rebels have fought since 1983 to create an independent homeland for the country's ethnic minority Tamils after decades of marginalization at the hands of governments controlled by the Sinhalese majority. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the fighting on this Indian Ocean island.
Government officials have vowed to crush the rebels by the end of the year.
(Courtesy : International Herald Tribune )
|Last Updated ( Monday, 09 March 2009 )|
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