Four dead in fresh violence in Sri Lanka

May 21, 2007 (AFP) – Four members of Sri Lanka’s security forces were killed and five wounded in separate attacks by suspected Tamil Tiger rebels on Monday, the defence ministry and police said. A mine that targeted troops travelling in a tractor in the northern district of Vavuniya killed two soldiers and injured four others, local police said.

In the same district, an officer was wounded when suspected guerrillas threw a bomb into a food supply bunker, local police said.

Elsewhere, two soldiers were killed in the northeast village of Weli Oya, when suspected rebels fired at troops on foot patrol early Monday, the defence ministry said.

There was no immediate comment from the Tamil Tigers on the clashes.

The rebels have been fighting for an independent homeland for minority Tamils in a long-drawn ethnic conflict that has claimed more than 60,000 lives since 1972.

The government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) say they are upholding a 2002 truce arranged by Norway and blame each other for the violence.

More than 4,800 people have been killed since December 2005, according to government figures.