Sri Lanka army death toll hits 129 after fierce battle

Oct 12, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s military said Thursday 129 soldiers were killed and over 500 wounded in fighting with Tamil Tiger rebels in the island’s north on Wednesday, while claiming 200 rebels also died. The defence ministry said 55 soldiers were killed in heavy clashes along the de facto front line in the Jaffna peninsula.

The ministry said the rebels on Thursday had returned the bodies of 74 more troops, which may belong to an infantry company attacked in Tamil Tiger territory.

It accused the rebels of capturing and killing the 74 soldiers “violating all norms and regulations of human rights and Geneva conventions.”

The ministry said four soldiers from the infantry company were still missing. It said other soldiers were still missing too but did not say how many.