Upsurge in violence as Sri Lanka parties hold talks in Oslo

June 8, 2006 (AFP) – Violence surged in Sri Lanka with at last 16 people reported killed Thursday hours before talks opened in Oslo between the Colombo government and Tiger rebels on their collapsing truce, officials said. Defence officials said the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) set off a powerful Claymore mine in northern Wanni region early Thursday, killing an army officer and wounding two others.

They said the LTTE had also clashed with a breakaway faction in the northeastern district of Trincomalee, leaving at least 15 guerrillas dead.

There was no immediate comment from the Tigers about military claims of internecine clashes but they denied involvement in a wave of the bombings this week, accusing the Sri Lankan government of trying to discredit them on top of a ban slapped on the guerrillas by the European Union.

The two-day meeting which started in Oslo Thursday between the LTTE and the Colombo government is aimed at boosting the security of a 60-member Scandinavian mission monitoring a troubled truce.

Norway’s Minister for International Development Erik Solheim told AFP their scope was more limited.

“These talks are not aimed at finding a political solution