Elite Sri Lankan commandos kill three troops in mishap: police

April 8, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s elite police commandos shot dead at least two soldiers and a civilian in a case of mistaken identity during a search in the restive east of the island, police said. The Special Task Force commandos opened fire at a group of men they believed were members of the Tamil Tiger separatist movement, but they turned out to be troops on a similar mission in Ampara district, a police official said.

Sri Lankan forces are locked in combat with the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who are fighting for an independent homeland for the island’s Tamil minority.

Fighting escalated in Sri Lanka after the government in January pulled out of a 2002 truce arranged by peace broker Norway. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict since 1972. .