Sri Lanka
Six civilians killed in Sri Lanka
Jan 17, 2007 - 11:41:19 AM

Colombo, Jan 17 - At least six civilians, including a woman, were shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Sri Lanka's northern town of Vavuniya, police said Wednesday.

The killings took place Tuesday night at around 8 p.m. -, police said.

Vavuniya witnessed violence throughout Tuesday as at least seven members of the security forces were killed in two separate attacks blamed on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam - rebels.

The first claymore mine explosion caused the deaths of two policemen and five soldiers were killed in the second mine blast later in the day.

The clashes in Vavuniya came as the rebels and the government troops were engaged in heavy battles in the Eastern Province.

The Army said they killed at least 30 LTTE rebels but the rebels said they had lost only 12 of their cadre. The military said that they advanced well into the rebel territory and captured rebel camps.

According to official estimates, the violence since December 2005 has cost over 3,800 lives and has undermined the efforts of the Norwegian peace facilitators to try and broker an end to the island's over two-decade-old ethnic separatist conflict.

The LTTE rebels seek to set up a separate homeland for the Tamils in the north and eastern provinces. Over 64,000 people were killed in the conflict between the mid 1980s and 2002 when the stalled Norwegian peace facilitation began.

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