6 rebels, 3 soldiers killed in fierce Wanni clashes

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Colombo, Oct 4: At least six Tamil Tiger rebels and three soldiers were killed in fierce clashes on the north-western Mannar-Vavuniya borders.

According to the Defence Ministry, fresh clashes erupted between the government troops and the rebels in the Vilaththikkulam, Periyathampanai, Pokkaraveni and Navakkulam areas, lying on the borders between Vavuniya and Mannar districts, last morning.

''Six LTTE terrorists were killed and many were also seriously injured in the confrontations and three soldiers were killed and five were reported injured in the incidents yesterday,'' the Ministry said.

Meanwhile, puthinam.com, a pro-LTTE website said fresh clashes in these areas broke out when the fighting formations of the rebels confronted multi-pronged advance by the military, backed by heavy artillery and mortar bombardments.

Claiming that the troops suffered heavy casualties during the confrontations, the pro-rebel website said the fighting, that broke out around 0600 hrs yesterday, was still going on in many fronts.

The website, however, did not divulge any information about the LTTE's casualties.

Although the government and the LTTE have claimed that they were committed to the five-year long Ceasefire Agreement, both parties are engaged in an undeclared war over the past one year.

The latest round of escalation of conflict for the past one year in the peninsula puts a question mark on the survivability of the Norwegian-brokered five year old Ceasefire Agreement(CFA).

The Sri Lanka government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had signed the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) on February 22nd 2002 as a means of reaching a negotiated solution to the country"s ethnic conflict.

Fresh violence has left over 5000 people killed and several thousands displaced since December last year.

UNI

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