Soldier killed in Sri Lanka blast, says army

Minister appoints Dr Swaminathan to IPACSL as Chairperson

March 2, 2008 (AFP) – A government soldier was killed in a roadside bomb attack carried out by Tamil Tiger guerrillas Sunday in northern Sri Lanka, the army said. Casualty figures provided by both sides differ vastly and cannot be independently verified since the government bars journalists and human rights workers from frontline and rebel-held areas. The blast happened in the morning in Vavuniya district bordering a de facto mini state run by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the army said in a statement.

“One soldier was killed in the explosion,” the statement said. “A search operation in the area commenced immediately after the incident.”

The attack came as sporadic clashes continued along the front lines in the north and east of the island state where the military has claimed to have killed a large number of rebels in recent weeks.

According to the Sri Lankan defence ministry, 1,733 rebels have been killed so far this year which has seen the end of a truce and escalating violence. The military estimates the Tigers’ strength at 5,000 combatants.

The ministry says 95 soldiers and police have also been killed in 2008.