Sporadic clashes in Sri Lanka after heavy fighting

Sri Lankan Police forming a human chain in parliament to protect the Speaker and enable a vote.

June 4, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lankan government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels were engaged in sporadic clashes in the north of the island Monday, the day after fierce battles left scores of fighters dead, official sources said. Following the guarantees, the aid groups from the US, UN and European Union among others agreed to return to work in northern and eastern areas of the country, the scene of almost daily fighting. The latest upsurge in fighting also came ahead of a planned visit to the island Tuesday by key donor Japan’s special peace envoy, who will be discussing what future there is for the country’s tattered peace process.

Violence has been concentrated at front lines in the north that separate a de facto mini-state run by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) — who have been fighting for a separate homeland for the island’s minority ethnic Tamils since 1972 — and government-held areas.

The Tiger rebels said they killed at least 30 government troops in a five-hour battle on Sunday to capture several gun positions and military detachments, and released pictures of an armoured carrier and bases they seized.

The defence ministry in Colombo, however, said the military had beaten back a guerrilla offens