COLOMBO, March 8, Reuter: Nine Tamil guerrillas were killed and about 10 injured today in the rebel stronghold of Jaffna a day after the air force strafed rebel bases in the town, the Sri Lankan government said.

The government also denied unconfirmed reports that 30 civilians were killed in yesterday’s air attacks.

A statement said the nine rebles were killed after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fired 40 mortar bombs at any army camp. It said the bombs all fell short because of the wind.

“The security forces fired back, destroying the mortar positions, killing nine terrorists and injuring around ten,” the government said. The LTTE, the most powerful of the group’s fighting for an independent homeland for minority Tamils, virtually control the Jaffna peninsula, especially the town with a population of around 120,000.  The government said “no civilian casualties were observed” today and every precaution was taken to avoid them.

It said the army did not retaliate when rebels shelled the camp a second time, this time from a position behind the town’s hospital.

Yesterday three aircraft strafed three LTTE bases in the town. A government spokesman told Reuters some civilians might have been injured but denied that 30 civilians were killed.

Diplomatic sources told Reuters that they had unconfirmed reports of “a very bad scene” with 30 demand and 100 injured yesterday.


The spokesman said helicopters dropped leaflets on Friday warning townspeople about a rebel offensive and a possible military counter attack.

“We’ve given the town advance warning, telling the people that the targets, which are the LTTE bases, would be attacked but we did not attack any of the Hindu temples or churches even though one of the bases is near a temple”, he said.

Article extracted from this publication >>  March 13, 1987