Fresh clashes in Sri Lanka; civilian protection council planned (Lead)

June 17th, 2008 - 2:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, June 17 (IANS) Even as 11 Tamil Tigers and two soldiers were killed in fresh clashes in Sri Lanka’s northwestern district of Mannar, officials said President Mahinda Rajapaksa was keen on establishing a mechanism to protect civilians from terrorism. The defence ministry Tuesday issued a statement saying troops attacked and destroyed a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) bunker and killed six rebels in a gun battle southwest of Periyamadhu in Mannar Monday.

It added that, in a separate incident, soldiers attacked two LTTE bunkers in Mullikkandal area around 9.45 a.m. Monday, killing five Tamil Tigers. Two soldiers were also killed while another suffered injuries.

There was no immediate reaction from the rebels.

Quoting official sources, the Daily News reported that Rajapaksa had decided “to invite all parties to establish an All Party People’s Security Council” to protect civilians.

According to the report, the move is aimed at “reaching an all party consensus to protect the civilian polity from the threat of the LTTE”.

“Preliminary talks pertaining to the matter are expected to commence next week,” it added.

Over 200 civilians have been killed in a series of bomb blasts since the beginning of the year.

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