Blast near Tiger cemetery kills Sri Lanka soldier

July 11, 2006 (AFP) – A government soldier was killed Tuesday in a powerful bomb explosion near a Tamil Tiger war cemetery in Sri Lanka’s northern peninsula of Jaffna, officials said. The soldier, on a routine patrol, was killed as the blast ripped through the area at Kodikamam, a military official in the area said when contacted by telephone.

The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) established the cemetery to bury their “martyrs” when they were in control of the peninsula between 1990 and 1995.

Tuesday’s attack came hours before President Mahinda Rajapakse was to meet with a group of politicians and technical experts to discuss a new constitution for the country and end Tamil separatism.

Policy Planning Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said Rajapakse will address a 15-member committee to advise him on constitutional reforms to end three decades of ethnic bloodshed that has claimed over 60,000 lives. The latest committee is an initiative outside the ongoing all-party conference which is trying to hammer out a position among all the major majority Sinhalese political parties before negotiating with the Tigers.