Sri Lankan Buddhist monk, five rebels killed

May 13, 2007 (AFP) – Unidentified gunmen shot dead a Buddhist monk in eastern Sri Lanka Sunday as security forces killed five Tamil Tiger rebels elsewhere, officials said. Monk Sandungamuwe Nandaratana was shot dead at a temple about 260 kilometres (162 miles) northeast of Colombo, military officials said, adding that the attackers had escaped.

The monk was known to have ordained at least one member of the minority Tamil community as a Buddhist monk.

Most Tamils are Hindus while Sri Lanka’s majority Sinhalese are mainly followers of Buddhism.

No one claimed responsibility for the shooting.

In the island’s northwest Mannar district, troops shot dead four members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on Saturday night, the military said in a statement.

It said another Tiger rebel was shot dead Saturday along the defence line separating the government-held part of the Jaffna peninsula from an area dominated by the Tigers.

The LTTE has waged a 35-year campaign for independence that has claimed more than 60,000 lives. More than 4,800 people have been killed in the latest upsurge of fighting that began in December 2005.