Killings continue in Sri Lanka ahead of failed truce anniversary

COLOMBO, Feb 22, 2007 (AFP) – Three civilians were found shot dead in northern Sri Lanka and a soldier was killed in the country’s east Thursday, on the eve of the fifth anniversary of a failed truce agreement, police said. The bullet-riddled bodies of the civilians were found in three locations in the town of Vavuniya, 260 kilometres (160 miles) north of the capital Colombo, police said.
Two of the victims were minority Tamils, the third from the Sinhalese majority.

In the island’s eastern town of Chenkaladi, suspected Tamil Tiger gunmen opened fire on a military checkpoint and killed a soldier on Thursday, a local police official said adding that a search operation for the killers was underway.

Meanwhile, in the south of the island, a commando from the police elite Special Task Force was killed in a “friendly fire accident” during a training exercise, an official at the Katukurunda training centre said.

“The commando was killed while undergoing a firing drill with others,” the officer said.
The taskforce captured a string of locations from the Tamil Tigers in the island’s east last month, amid an upsurge in violence.

Stepped up violence has recently swept Vavuniya, the gateway to the Tamil rebel-held