15 Tamil Tiger rebels killed in Sri Lanka

April 5th, 2008 - 7:36 pm ICT by admin  

Colombo, April 5 (Xinhua) At least 15 Tamil Tiger rebels were killed and 15 injured in clashes with the government troops in the northern battle fronts, the military said Saturday. The rebels were killed Friday in Vauniya, Mannar and Welioya districts, military officials said, adding that a soldier was also killed.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishop of Mannar Rayappu Joseph has appealed to both the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the government to free the Madu church area, some 279 km northeast of the capital Colombo, from the ongoing battle.

The church is located in the rebel area. On Thursday, the priests in the church, along with people who had taken refuge there, moved the statue of the Virgin Mary from the church to the rebel-held Kilinochchi district.

“We had to do it because there was continued shelling,” Bishop Rayappu Joseph told reporters.

Military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said the safety of the church was very much a concern for the military as the LTTE kept on attacking the military from its surroundings.

The action around the Madu church area is part of the military’s attempted advance into the LTTE controlled territory in the northern districts of Kilinochchi and Mullaithivu.

More than 70,000 people have died in the island’s long drawn out separatist armed conflict since the mid 1980s.

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