Source AP ©

Contradictory versions of Sri Lankan battles:Tamil rebels deny heavy losses

Tamil Tiger rebels deny suffering heavy casualties in battles and say they killed more than two dozens government soldiers in northern Sri Lanka fighting.

The contradictory versions of the battles highlights the difficulty in getting accurate, independent information on the fighting deep in the jungles of the north, where the government strongly restricts access.

The military announced Wednesday that an additional five rebel fighters were killed in fierce fighting the day before, bringing their death toll for Tuesday's fighting to 37 rebels and five soldiers.

The worst of the fighting broke out Tuesday afternoon when rebels attacked military positions near Adampan in the Mannar district just south of rebel-held territory, said Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara, the military spokesman. Soldiers fought back in a battle that killed 20 Tamil Tiger fighters and three troops, he said.

The rebels' version of the fighting contradicted the military's account. In an e-mail to reporters late Tuesday, rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan said the army started the fight at Adampan by trying to cross into rebel-held territory. The Tamil Tigers fought back with artillery, mortar fire and heavy weapons, forcing the army to pull back from a battle that killed 20 soldiers and three rebels, he said.

A further six soldiers were killed in other fighting, bringing Tuesday's death toll to 26 soldiers and three rebels, Ilanthirayan said.

The battles came amid a major escalation in fighting in recent weeks. Senior government officials say they aim to capture rebel-held territory and crush the Tamil Tigers in a bid to end more than two decades of warfare on the Indian Ocean island.

The rebels have fought since 1983 for an independent homeland for ethnic minority Tamils after decades of discrimination under governments controlled by the Sinhalese majority. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

Comments
British football fans spineless to unleash World War Three in Russia during World Cup
Beautiful and terrifying: Russia shows video of Bulava ICBM underwater salvo launch
Kremlin on failed nuclear missile tests: 'Listen to President Putin and believe him!'
Kremlin wants foreign invaders out of Syria
Kremlin on failed nuclear missile tests: 'Listen to President Putin and believe him!'
What may happen to foreign tourists traveling for 2018 World Cup in Russia
Kremlin on failed nuclear missile tests: 'Listen to President Putin and believe him!'
Russian special services detain Hizb ut-Tahrir members in Crimea
Russian special services detain Hizb ut-Tahrir members in Crimea
Foreign Ministry official explains why Russia had to sell Alaska to US
Russian air defences ready to shoot down NATO drones and reconnaissance aircraft over Crimea
Just Words on Scraps of Paper
Just Words on Scraps of Paper
SWIFT refuses to cut Russia off, even if Washington insists
Russian air defences ready to shoot down NATO drones and reconnaissance aircraft over Crimea
Russia introduces new money for the first time in eight years
Russians massively break traffic rules on Crimea Bridge
Russian air defences ready to shoot down NATO drones and reconnaissance aircraft over Crimea
The Royal Wedding and the Silly Season
Russian air defences ready to shoot down NATO drones and reconnaissance aircraft over Crimea
Kremlin on failed nuclear missile tests: 'Listen to President Putin and believe him!'