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S Lanka army says Tigers, breakaway group clash

Written by: Staff

COLOMBO, Apr 30 (Reuters) Tamil Tiger rebels and a renegade ex-Tigers group were fighting each other in the east of the country today, Sri Lanka's army said.

But it said the military was not involved in the clashes.

The Tigers have long accused the army of using ex-rebels led by former Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) commander Karuna Amman to attack them. The army denies the charge, but truce monitors say Karuna operates from government areas and that the military has been at least turning a blind eye.

''There has been some firing and some attacks,'' said army spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe. ''LTTE and Karuna. Both parties are fighting.'' An eastern military source said it appeared the Tigers were attacking Karuna forces.

Fears are growing in the country that a truce between government and rebel forces could collapse completely and bring a return to civil war.

The spokesman said the attacks took place around the eastern town of Welikanda, widely seen as a Karuna stronghold. He said that while it was officially part of government territory, the military had no presence there and no more information.


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