Sri Lanka toll nears 3,300 killed in 11 months despite truce: military

Nov 5, 2006 (AFP) – Nearly 3,300 people have died in Sri Lanka since fighting between Tamil Tiger rebels and troops flared in December, shattering a 2002 truce, defence ministry figures released Sunday showed. After the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse came to power in November last year, 860 security personnel and 549 civilians were killed between December 1 to October 25, the defence ministry said.

It said security forces had also killed 1,880 Tamil Tiger guerrillas and wounded 1,303 others.

The fighting came despite a truce arranged and put in place by peace broker Norway in February 2002.

The violence has flared anew following failed peace talks in Geneva last month.

There was no immediate word from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) about the defence ministry’s casualty figures.

However, the rebels announced in Geneva last week that 870 civilians had been killed by government forces and paramilitary units since their previous round of negotiations in February.

Sri Lanka’s key international backers — the United States, the European Union, Japan and Norway — have asked both sides to refrain from hostilities and resume observation of the ceasefire. The key backers h