COLOMBO, Nov. 29, Reuter — Suspected Marxist guerrillas have shot dead 15 people in Sri Lanka in the past 24 hours, the military said on Tuesday.

A military report said the victims, gunned down in incidents across the Indian Ocean Island, were mostly civilians known to be supporters of the government.

The government has accused the Marxist People’s Liberation Front, whose members are mainly from Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese Majority, of mounting violent. Protests to topple President Junius Jayewardene’s Government.

Police have blamed the group for the deaths of over 600 people, mostly government supporters, after Sri Lanka signed a pact with India in July 1987 aimed at ending Separatist violence by the island’s Tamil Minority.

‘The Front demands Jayewardene’s resignation and the scrapping of the PACT.

Security forces arrested more than 400 suspected Front rebels in house-to-house searches in the suburbs of the capital Colombo at the weekend.

Unidentified gunmen wounded at least eight passengers when they opened fire at the bus at Kochchikade in Western Sri Lanka, police said on Tuesday,

The independent Sun Newspaper said on Tuesday that Jayewardene was expected to dissolve parliament on December 20, a day after the presidential election.

It quoted “reliable sources” as saying that Jayewardene was likely to announce the dissolution on December 10. There was no official confirmation of the report.

Opposition political parties, religious groups, academics, professionals, trade unions and students are demanding the immediate dissolution of parliament as a step towards easing tension on the island.

Jayewardene has said he will step down when a new president is elected on December 19, but a parliamentary election is not due until next August.

The presidential election is being contested by Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa from the ruling United National Party, Sirina Bandaranaike of the main opposition Freedom Party and Oswin Abeygunasekera of the People’s Party.

Article extracted from this publication >> December 2, 1988