Sri Lankan Tigers kill three soldiers in south

Feb 20, 2008 (AFP) – Suspected Tamil Tiger separatists on Wednesday shot dead three government soldiers in Sri Lanka’s restive south, the military said. Gunmen from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fired at troops guarding a road in Buttala, an area that has recently experienced several attacks, military spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara said.

“Three soldiers were killed in this LTTE attack,” Nanayakkara said. “Troops retaliated, but we are yet to get details of casualties among the terrorists.”

The incident happened just before noon (0630 GMT), he said.

Tiger rebels have been accused of last month’s bombing of a civilian bus in the area, killing at least 17 passengers, as well as hacking to death another 10 villagers.

Since then, thousands of additional police and troops have poured in to guard against Tiger attacks.

The latest violence broke out as security forces stepped up attacks against the mini-state that the Tamil Tigers run in the north, about 350 kilometres (220 miles) from Buttala.

The south of the island, where the majority Sinhalese community is concentrated, is also the home constituency of President Mahi