Fresh violence claims 18 lives in Sri Lanka

Chandi Dharmaratne

Sept 30, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lankan police commandos killed 15 Tamil Tiger rebels who attacked their camp in the east of the country on Saturday, while three constables died in other violence. The defence ministry said the guerrillas attacked the Pullumalai camp of the police’s Special Task Force (STF) early Saturday.

“The STF had good advance information about the attack and they were waiting in ambush,” a ministry spokesman said. “We have recovered the bodies of 11 terrorists and we know they took away another four bodies.”

Meanwhile, in the northern district of Vavuniya, three constables were killed when their patrol was hit by a Claymore mine, police said.

Sri Lanka is seeing continuing bloodshed amid renewed efforts by peacebroker Norway to arrange peace talks early next month in Oslo between the island’s government and the Tamil Tigers.

Both sides agreed last week to try to salvage a wilting truce in place since February 2002.

More than 1,500 people have died in an upsurge of tit-for-tat violence in the past 10 months.

Tamil rebels are fighting for a homeland in Sri Lanka, a majority Sinhalese nation. More than 60,000 people have died since the rebellion began in 1