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S Lanka rebels kill 6 Sinhalese civilians -army

Written by: Staff

COLOMBO, Apr 23 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels kidnapped and killed six ethnic Sinhalese farmers, police and the army said today, raising fears of communal violence that could lead to renewed civil war.

The murders took place in the northeastern district of Trincomalee, where Sinhalese residents attacked Tamil villages last week in anger over claymore mine attacks the army blamed on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ''Those farmers were working in their paddy fields when they were taken and shot,'' said military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe.

''This shows the LTTE is trying to create a backlash among communities,'' he said.

The Tigers, who have been fighting for a separate state for minority Tamils in Sri Lanka's north and east, have pulled out of peace talks with the government meant to open tomorrow in Geneva.

Analysts said the talks were the best hope of defusing a cycle of rising violence that is straining a 2002 Norwegian-brokered truce to the breaking point.


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