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Tamil rebels say roadside bombs kill 8 civilians in Sri Lanka's north

Tamil rebels say roadside bombs kill 8 civilians in Sri Lanka's north

Tamil Tiger rebels alleged Thursday that Sri Lankan soldiers set off two roadside bombs inside the rebels' northern stronghold, killing eight civilians. The military denied soldiers were behind the blasts.
The rebels reported two separate explosions Wednesday in Mullaitivu district. The first killed four civilians traveling on tractor trailers and the second killed another four nearly seven hours later, the rebels said in an e-mailed statement.
Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara denied that soldiers were behind the blasts.
Also Thursday, air force fighter jets bombed and destroyed a rebel artillery command center in a village on the northern Jaffna peninsula, Nanayakkara said.
Clashes a day earlier between government troops and rebels along the front lines of the country's restive northern jungles killed nine insurgents, Nanayakkara said.
Fighting in a village in Vavuniya district left three guerrillas dead while a separate battle minutes later in nearby Mannar district killed six rebels, he said.
Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan could not immediately be reached for comment. It was not possible to obtain independent accounts on the clashes because journalists have been barred from the battle zone. The two sides often give vastly different casualty figures.
The latest clashes were part of the government's campaign to crush the rebels and dismantle their de facto state in the north after driving the guerrillas from their eastern strongholds last year.
The Tamil Tiger guerrillas have fought since 1983 to create an independent homeland for minority ethnic Tamils, who have faced decades of discrimination by governments controlled by majority Sinhalese.
More than 70,000 people have been killed in the fighting.


Updated : 2021-10-27 06:46 GMT+08:00