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7 killed in LTTE-Karuna clash in Lanka

The mainstream LTTE attacks an office of the breakaway group in Valaichenai in the east, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Jan 10, 2007 16:01 IST

Seven persons were killed when the mainstream LTTE attacked a political office of the breakaway Karuna group in Valaichenai in Eastern Sri Lanka on Tuesday.

Azad Maulana, the spokesman of the Karuna group, told Hindustan Times that the LTTE attacked the political office located on Vivekananda Road at about 8.15 pm.

Two political workers of the Tamileela Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP), Karuna's political party, were killed, he said.

But the Karuna group's military wing took on the attackers and killed four of them. It lost one cadre in the fighting.

Moulana said that the TMVP was ready to hand over the bodies of the four Wanni Tigers to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Wanni and Eastern Tigers

The mainstream LTTE is called "Wanni Tigers" by the Karuna group. This is because it is based in the Wanni in North Sri Lanka.

The Karuna group is based in the East, mainly in Batticaloa district, and claims to represent the Eastern Tamils and Muslims, who are allegedly discriminated against by the Northern Tamils led by the Wanni Tigers.

Karuna, who was a leading commander of the mainstream LTTE's fighting forces, split in March 2004 complaining of regionalist discrimination in a North-dominated LTTE.

New turn

The war in the East has taken a new turn with the Prabhakaran and Karuna groups beginning to attack each other after a gap of two years.

Earlier this month, the Karuna group claimed that it had attacked three LTTE camps in the Thoppigala jungles in Batticaloa district and killed 34 Wanni Tigers.

With the Sri Lankan Armed Forces putting pressure on the mainstream LTTE in Vaharai, the Karuna group, which is allegedly in league with the Security Forces, has been attacking the mainstream LTTE.

For its part, the government's Special Task Force destroyed a LTTE camp in Kanjikudichcharu in Amparai district further south.

According to the Sri Lankan government, the Wanni Tigers fled from these camps, leaving behind civil and military stores, including a van full of explosives, allegedly meant to be smuggled into Colombo to carry out terrorist bombings.

First Published: Jan 10, 2007 15:58 IST