Sri Lanka says soldier killed in roadside bombing

March 18, 2008 (AFP) – A Sri Lankan soldier was killed and two others wounded in a roadside bomb attack in the island’s north Tuesday, the defence ministry said. The victims were on a mine-sweeping operation in the district of Mannar when they were caught up in the blast, the ministry said in a statement.

The incident came as government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels were locked in fierce combat in the region. The ministry said three more Tiger guerrillas were killed by security forces on Monday.

The latest deaths bring the number of rebels killed by security forces since the start of the year to 2,155, according to the ministry. A total of 127 government soldiers have also died during the same period, ministry figures show.

The claims cannot be independently verified as the government prevents reporters and rights groups from visiting frontline areas.

Sri Lanka pulled out of a six-year truce with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in January. .