COLOMBO, Jan 10, 2007 (AFP) – At least 16 Tamil Tiger rebels were killed in clashes with security forces and rival rebels in Sri Lanka’s embattled eastern province, the defence ministry said Wednesday. At least 10 members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were killed and another 25 wounded when troops retaliated against a rebel artillery attack in Batticaloa district Wednesday, the defence ministry said.
“In a search operation which followed, troops recovered three T-56 rifles, two Claymore mines, one hand grenade, 95 rounds of T-56 ammunition, electric detonators and 100 meters of wire,” the statement said.
There was no immediate rebel reaction to the military claim.
The bodies of four Tamil Tiger rebels were found by troops in the same district after a fight with a splinter group known as the Karuna faction, the ministry said.
It said two of the dead were members of the Karuna group, led by V. Muralitharan, better known as Colonel Karuna. They were killed when the main LTTE guerrillas attacked them on Tuesday evening, it said.
The LTTE has accused the military of collaborating with the Karuna group to carry out attacks against the main rebel outfit, a charge the secur