Sri Lanka troops kill 29 rebels in northern clashes
(dpa) - Sri Lankan troops continued military offensives in the north, killing at least 29 rebels in the area, despite heavy rains, military officials said Monday.
The fighting was reported from the Mannar, Vavuniya, Jaffna and Welioya areas, more than 250 kilometres north of the capital, on Sunday.
In Mannar, 11 rebels were killed in three separate incidents, while in Welioya six rebels were killed, officials said.
Twelve more rebels were killed in separate incidents in Vavuniya and Jaffna on Sunday.
Only five soldiers were injured in the operations, military officials said.
Sri Lanka has been inundated with heavy rains for the past two weeks, but the military said they were continuing their offensive operations.
However, independent reports from the area said both rebels and the security forces have been affected by the heavy rains as much of the area is underwater.
Government troops are on an offensive to recapture rebel- controlled areas in the north. Fighting resumed when rebels attacked government forces in December 2005, prompting the government to launch offensive operations. Since then more than 6,400 people have been killed in the conflict.
A Norwegian-backed truce between the Sri Lankan government and the rebels was brought to an end in January after Colombo withdrew from the agreement, saying it was ineffective.
The country's 25-year-old ethnic conflict has gone through five separate truces aimed at ending the fighting, but none have been effective. The longest peace pact was under the Norwegian-backed agreement that started in February 2002.
Throughout the conflict more than 77,000 people have been killed and Sri Lanka's infrastructure and economy have been severely affected.