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Sri Lanka military says it killed Tamil separatists, first clash since 2009

Published on Apr 11, 2014 8:52 PM

COLOMBO (REUTERS) - Sri Lanka's military said on Friday it had killed three ethnic Tamil separatist militants, the first combat since government troops crushed the rebels in a 2009 offensive.

The government, heavily criticised by Western governments and the United Nations for alleged rights abuses in 2009, said the clash showed Tamil rebels were re-emerging in Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamil dominated north.

Both President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the military had previously said the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebel group had been completely defeated when the 26-year war ended in May 2009, with no possibility of any resurgence.

Military spokesman Ruwan Wanigasooriya said the three men were killed after a confrontation with troops in the Jaffna peninsula. Two men had been identified as local rebel leaders and a third had yet to be identified.

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