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Tamil Rebels Blow Up Truck, 5 Dead

March 14, 1998

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Tamil Tiger guerrillas have blown up an army truck in northern Sri Lanka, killing at least four soldiers and a civilian, the military said today.

Four other soldiers were wounded in the land mine explosion Friday at Puthur, 185 miles north of Colombo, said Col. Ranjan Witana, a military spokesman.

The rebels have been fighting since 1983 for a separate homeland for Tamils, who make up 18 percent of Sri Lanka’s population. They allege discrimination by the majority Sinhalese, who control the government and military.

At least 51,000 people have been killed in the fighting.

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