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Separatist Rebels Kill Five Soldiers

December 8, 1996

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Separatist rebels ambushed a military patrol in northern Sri Lanka, killing at least five soldiers.

Rebel casualties were not known in Friday’s attack near Kilinochchi town, Capt. Panduka Senanayake, a military spokesman, said Sunday.

Kilinochchi, a former rebel stronghold 170 miles north of the capital Colombo, was captured by government troops in September.

The rebels are fighting for a separate homeland for minority Tamils, claiming that Tamils are discriminated against by the majority Sinhalese who control the government and the military.

More than 46,000 people have been killed in Sri Lanka’s civil war since 1983.

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