CILOMBO; March 7, Reuter: Seventeen people were killed in northern Sri Lanka today by a Tamil guerrilla landmine as fresh clashes erupted between rebels and troops, the government said.

Government statements said 11 security men and six civilians died when guerrillas set off a landmine under a military vehicle at Ullukkulama in northern Sri Lanka.

The civilians were in the vehicle. Security forces at times take civilians to market in their trucks because of transport problems, a military spokesman said.

The statement said the security forces successfully attacked four guerrilla camps today in the rebel stronghold of Jaffna. No details were given.

The independent Sun newspaper said two Filipino mercenaries were helping the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fight against the security forces.

Quoting military intelligence sources, the newspaper said the Filipinos arrived in Sri Lanka early last month from South India with LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.

The LTTE is the most powerful of five main guerrilla groups fighting troops in the north and east to set up an independent homeland for minority Tamils.

More than 5,000 people have died in the conflict in the past four years.

Article extracted from this publication >>  March 13, 1987