CLOMBO, March 23, (Reuter): Tamil separatist guerrillas massacred 26 people today in an attack on a Sinhalese village, the Sri Lankan government said, and military sources reported four soldiers killed by therebels elsewhere.

Government spokesman Tilak Ratnakara told Reuters a large group of rebels stormed the village of Seruneva in the jungles of Anuradhapura district early today. He said they shot or hacked to death 26 men, women and children including some home guards, a civilian force armed by the military to defend villages. The victims belonged to the majority Sinhalese community.

The rebels also set fire to houses and several bodies were charred beyond recognition, Ratnakara said.

Seruneva is about 220 km (140 miles) northeast of Colombo, close to the border of Trincomalee district where rebels are active.

Four soldiers were killed and four seriously injured when rebels attacked a sentry post near the military camp in Jaffna in a four-hour battle that lasted till dawn, military sources said.

They said the guerrillas used rocket propelled grenades and mortars to destroy the post, near 4 strategic causeway linking Jaffna and Mandaitivu Island.

They kidnapped five soldiers manning the post, they said.

The rebels are fighting for a separate homeland in the northern and eastern provinces for Tamils, who make up 12.6 per cent of the 15 million people in the Sinhalese dominated country.

Article extracted from this publication >>  March 27, 1987