Colombo, Sri Lanka — 52 separatist guerrillas were killed by Sri Lanka’s security forces in a raid on a northern jungle hideout early Friday, government sources and state-run Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corp. reported.
The rebels, members of the island nation’s Tamil minority battling for an independent state in the north, had attacked an army outpost Wednesday morning, the government said.
The radio quoted National Security Minister Lalith Athulathmudali as saying security forces killed the 52 guerrillas after tracking them for three days from the outpost to their jungle hideout.
The troops also captured unspecified arms and ammunition in the raid in the northern Mullaitivu district, the radio said.
The government has been battling an insurrection by militant Tamils, whose ethnic group were predominantly Hindu, are of south Indian origin and make up about 20 percent of Sri Lanka’s population. The majority Sinhalese, most of whom are Buddhists, constitute 70 percent of the population.
Officials said the Tamils killed Friday were among about 150 who attacked an army outpost at Kokkilai on Wednesday with mortars, rocketpropelled grenades and small arms. They said 14 guerrillas and four soldiers were killed.
Fresh army reinforcements, which rushed to the area after the five hour battle, pursued the
Rebels to their jungle hideout. Government sources said security forces killed 17 insurgents Thursday and 52 Friday, bringing the two-day total to 69.
In other developments, India demanded “‘suitable compensation” from Colombo for the alleged killing Wednesday of two Indian fishermen in Indian territorial waters by Sri Lankan naval forces.
The Indian Foreign Office in New Delhi summoned Sri Lankan High Commissioner Bernard Tilakaratna and told him of India’s “deep concern over the killing of the two Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan navy personnel.” A Sri Lanka government official in Colombo denied the killings ever occurred.
India said it was the second such incident in the past five weeks in the Palk Strait, where the Sri Lankan navy has been trying to stem the tide of illegal arms shipments to Tamil guerrillas from southern India.
Article extracted from this publication >> February 22, 1985