Sri Lanka Fighting Leaves 237 Dead
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Fighting between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels has left 237 combatants in the past two days, the military said.
``Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has confirmed 194 of their cadres (were) killed,″ the military said in a statement Monday. Forty-three soldiers were killed and 110 wounded in the fighting, the statement said.
The fighting began Sunday morning when Tamil Tiger rebels attacked soldiers near the military-controlled town of Paranthan, 175 miles north of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo.
Military-held Paranthan lies along the northernmost stretch of a 43-mile highway through rebel-held territory which the military has been trying to capture for the past year. So far, government troops have captured about two-thirds of the highway.
Independent reports of fighting are not available because the government has barred journalists from battle zones. The government also imposed censorship on war reporting in June after fighting to capture the road escalated.
The rebels are fighting for a separate homeland for minority Tamils in the country’s north and east, claiming that they are discriminated by the majority Sinhalese who control the government and the military.
More than 54,000 people have been killed in Sri Lanka’s civil war since 1983.