COLOMBO, April 4, (Reuter); Sri Lanka’s powerful Tamil guerrilla group has murdered 175 suspected members of rival separatist groups in apparent revenge for a grenade attack on one of its leaders, a government spokesman said today.

He said the Liberat Tigers Eelam (LTTE), which has sought in the past to crush other separatist groups, shot dead 33 people yesterday on the Jaffna peninsula.

“Right through the night, the army camp in Jaffna town heard machinegun fire and grenade blasts” the spokesman told Reuters.

The government said earlier that the LTTE on Thursday rounded up 28 youths in the northern peninsula, which it largely controls and killed them early yesterday. A second group of 37 people were killed later.

The fatality reports, which the spokesman said were supplied by military intelligence sources, have not been independently confirmed.

The victims were suspected members of the Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) and the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO), the spokesman said.

All the groups are fighting for a separate Tamil state in north and east Sri Lanka. The LTTE has been on the warpath to avenge a grenade attack on Monday on its Jaffna commander, Sathasivampillai Krishnakumar, who was wounded in his car.

Diplomatic sources said Krishnakumar had been smuggled across the Palk straits to Trichinopoly in South India where he was being treated.

Tamil sources said that though the LTTE suspected its rivals were behind the attack, it was probing the possibility that government agents might have been responsible.

The government spokesman said the LTTE was still combing the Jaffna peninsula for members of rival groups, searching houses, vehicles and buildings.

Article extracted from this publication >>  April 10, 1987