Heavy fighting between rebels and government soldiers subsided in northern Sri Lanka on Thursday, a day after intense artillery battles left hundreds killed or wounded, according to officials on both sides. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam said they were planning to return the 30 bodies of government troops they captured.
Security forces armed with loud hailers were deployed in eastern Sri Lanka on Monday to drive away wild elephants blocking access to polling booths, police said. Villagers in Wellaveli told the authorities that they were unable to vote at the first local elections in 14 years because a herd of elephants had blocked their polling booth.
Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels denied involvement in Thursday's bus bombing that killed at least 64 passengers and said the blast had been aimed at discrediting them. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rejected government charges that they carried out the morning attack near Kebitigollewa town in the North-Central Province and in turn pointed a finger at the government.
At least eight people were killed in two separate mine blasts in northern Sri Lanka on Monday, hours after Tiger rebels announced they are suspending participation in peace talks. The latest deaths raised to 64 the number of people, mostly police or troops, killed in bomb attacks in the past week in the latest surge of violence linked to the decades-old Tamil separatist conflict.
Suspected Tiger rebels set off two more mines and fought a gun battle with troops on Tuesday as the United Nations urged talks and Norway made a fresh bid to pull Sri Lanka back from the brink of war. Military officials said members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam ambushed a navy bus by setting off a landmine in the restive northeast port district of Trincomalee.