Ten killed in Sri Lanka amid fresh violence

From left: Dr. Fernando Im, Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, The World Bank, Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. W A Wijewardana, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof. Indralal de Silva, Former (Chair) of Demography, University of Colombo, Prof. Amala de Silva, Department of Economics, University of Colombo at the panel discussion on "Demographic Change in Sri Lanka" moderated by Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

VAVUNIYA, Sri Lanka, Sept 14, 2006 (AFP) – At least 10 people have died in fresh violence in Sri Lanka, officials said Thursday, despite an agreement among the island’s warring parties to talk peace.

Three migrant workers from Sri Lanka’s majority Sinhalese community were gunned down in an open field in the town of Vavuniya, police said.

The town borders territory held in the island’s north by rebels from the minority Tamil population.

“We initially suspected the victims were local Tamils, but other labourers have now identified them as those who came here looking for work,” a police official said.

The defence ministry blamed the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam group for the workers’ killings.

The ministry also said rebels shot dead a civilian in nearby Trincomalee district Thursday, adding commandos repulsed a guerrilla attack there and killed two rebels.

On Wednesday two bomb blasts in Vavuniya wounded 18 people, including two soldiers.

Meanwhile three soldiers died in two skirmishes late Wednesday on the Jaffna peninsula, and a fourth was killed in a mortar bomb attack in Trincomalee district, the ministry said.

The violence occurred despite pe