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Tamil Rebels Kill Police Officer, Injure Soldier With Sri Lanka-Economy Bjt

July 31, 1986

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Tamil rebels attacked security forces who were guarding the home affairs minister Thursday, and one police officer was killed, police said. They said a soldier was seriously injured.

The officer and soldier were among extra security forces deployed in Chenkaladi, 130 miles northeast of Colombo, to protect Home Affairs Minister Bill Devanayagam during his visit to dedicate a new post office and hospital. The minister said he was not near the attack site.

Residents of the nearby port city of Batticaloa said that after the Tamil attack, security forces opened fire and killed two Tamil civilians in the area. The residents spoke on condition of anonymity, and there was no official confirmation of the deaths.

Meanwhile, the state-run radio and the state news agency, Lakapuwath, said security forces killed 30 Tamil guerrillas late Wednesday night in the island’s northern province.

Hundreds of troops, some in helicopters, converged near Omantai village, after a land mine exploded in the area and killed four soldiers. The village is about 140 miles north of Colombo.

″Nobody knows who was killed but there was a lot of shooting and many helicopters were seen firing over the area,″ a Buddhist monk said by telephone from nearby Vavuniya, where the mine exploded. He spoke on condition of anonymity.

Tamils make up 18 percent of Sri Lanka’s 16 million people. Most of them are Hindus. They long have complained of discrimination by the majority Sinhalese, who are mostly Buddhists.

Militant Tamils have been fighting since 1983 for an independent homeland in the island’s northern and eastern provinces. More than 4,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

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