Sri Lanka bloodbath over water ends as Norway clinches peace deal

Aug 6, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka Sunday rejected peace broker Norway’s deal with Tamil Tiger rebels to lift a water blockade at the root of the latest bloodshed that has claimed over 425 lives by official count. Troops began shelling suspected Tiger positions around Maavilaru in the northeastern district of Trincomalee where the guerrillas blocked a sluice gate depriving water to some 15,000 farming families downstream.

Sporadic firing was heard in the main town of Trincomalee while security forces virtually cut off access to the nearby town of Muttur where much of the fighting took place last week.

Aid workers had been prevented from accessing Muttur for several days, but some who managed to get into the town early Sunday discovered the corpses of 15 local employees of French aid agency Action Against Hunger (ACF).

The bodies of 11 men and four women, all ethnic Tamils and wearing ACF T-shirts, were found face down in their office, Jeevan Thiagarajah, the head of the main umbrella group for aid agencies in the country, said.

“We don’t know how they died or even when it happened,” Thiagarajah, from the Consortium for Humanitarian Agencies, told AFP.

Tiger rebels had Saturday accused the gover