Sri Lankan troops, Tigers swap bodies

COLOMBO, Oct 6, 2007 (AFP) – Government forces and Tamil Tiger guerrillas swapped on Saturday the bodies of combatants killed in recent fighting in northern Sri Lanka, doctors said. Government troops sent four bodies of Tamil Tiger rebels to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) through the International Red Cross, a doctor at the Vavuniya hospital said.

He said the four corpses were brought to the main hospital in Vavuniya, a government-held town near the mini-state run by the guerrillas, following last week’s fighting along the de facto border.

The rebels returned the bodies of an army officer and a soldier killed in the same clashes last week, defence officials said.

Military sources said both sides suffered heavy losses in the latest fighting in the north of the island.

The Tigers have been fighting for an independent homeland for minority Tamils from the majority Sinhalese community since 1972. More than 5,400 people have been killed in the fighting in the past 21 months following the breakdown of a Norwegian-brokered truce.