Factional fighting kills 11 as Japanese envoy pushes peace bid

COLOMBO, May 8, 2006 (AFP) – At least 11 people were killed in factional fighting in Sri Lanka on Monday, defence sources said, as a Japanese envoy sought to salvage the island’s faltering peace process.

A breakaway faction of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) launched a pre-dawn attack against a base of the main guerrilla group in the northeastern district of Trincomalee, the sources said.

There was no word from the Tigers or the faction led by V. Muralitharan, better known as Colonel Karuna.

But the sources who gave the casualty figure said the attack appeared to be retaliation for an LTTE attack on Karuna’s forces last month.

The pro-LTTE Nitharsanam.com website said the mainstream guerrillas were able to repel the attack by the Karuna faction, which they alleged was supported by government forces.

The military denies any involvement.
“An attempt by paramilitaries backed by the Sri Lanka army failed,” Nitharsanam said, adding that Tiger rebels captured several guns from the attack force.

It did not give casualty figures for either side.

The defence ministry said it had no details because the fighting was in rebel-held territory.

The reports of v