Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka military takes more rebel camps in east
Jan 14, 2007 - 11:05:27 AM

Colombo, Jan 14 - Sri Lankan military has seized more camps of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam - in the island's troubled eastern province as rebel mortar fire killed four soldiers, defence officials said Sunday.

The soldiers died and two were injured Saturday night when LTTE rebels fired artillery and mortar at the Sri Lanka Army detachment at Mankerni in Batticaloa district.

Officials said the LTTE gun positions in the eastern Trincomalee district's Vergual area was attacked by the Sri Lanka Airforce Kfir jets Saturday.

Police said that the Special Task Force - had taken three more camps of the LTTE at Kanjikuduchiaru area in Ampara district.

On Tuesday, the STF captured the main rebel base at Kanjikuduchiaru after launching its offensive code named 'Victory Assured' in the area to capture rebel-controlled thickets in Ampara.

'We have made good gains in the LTTE territory and now we will set up our own camp in the area,' an STF spokesman said.

The military leaders have vowed to flush the rebels out from the eastern province by retaliating the LTTE artillery and mortar fire.

The clashes in the province since last month has caused large-scale displacement and killing of civilians. The international community has appealed to both sides to ensure civilian safety in the conflict.

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. More than 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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