Scores killed in Sri Lanka’s clashes on New Year eveApril 13th, 2008 - 12:41 am ICT by admin
By P. Karunakharan
Colombo, April 12 (IANS) Fierce fighting erupted in Sri Lanka’s northwestern Mannar district on the eve of the Tamil-Sinhala New Year, with both the government troops and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) claiming heavy casualties on the other side. Defence sources here said the troops broke out from their forward defences in the early hours of Saturday and captured fresh territories held by the rebels in the north of Giant Tank and southeast of Adampan in Mannar district after heavy fighting.
“At least 30 LTTE cadres and six army personnel have been killed and over 50 rebels and 25 government soldiers have been wounded during the clashes on Saturday,” an official attached to the Media Centre of National Security (MCNS) of the Defence Ministry said Saturday night.
“The troops are consolidating their newly captured positions,” the official said.
Meanwhile, LTTE’s military spokesperson Rasaiyah Illanthirayan in a statement Saturday night said the clashes had erupted when the government troops, backed by air and artillery bombardment, “attempted to move towards LTTE fortifications in Mannar around 0530 hrs Saturday”.
He said that the military’s pre-dawn four-pronged assault was fiercely confronted by the rebels and the heavy clashes lasted for well over eight hours.
“The Sri Lankan Army suffered as at least 30 were killed in action (KIA) and more than 75 others were injured in today’s clashes in the west of Giant Tank,” the rebels’ military spokesperson said, adding that only three LTTE cadres had died in the fighting.
Independent verifications on the battlefront casualties are not possible as journalists are barred from visiting the battlefront.