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Gunbattle in Lanka as Norway moves to save truce

Norway's special envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer was due in Sri Lanka as part of efforts to save the tottering truce.

india Updated: Apr 26, 2006 15:14 IST

Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels killed a constable in an exchange of fire in northern Sri Lanka, officials said on Tuesday, as peace broker Norway moved to save a shaky truce.

The firefight occurred on Monday night after the guerrillas fired a grenade into a police post in the district of Vavuniya, police said.

They said suspected rebels carried out a similar attack on another sentry post in the northeastern district of Trincomalee on Monday night, wounding a soldier.

At least eight people were killed in bomb explosions on Monday, raising to 64 the number killed in the past 10 days.

Norway's special envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer was due in Sri Lanka on Tuesday as part of efforts to save the tottering truce between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Colombo government.

"We are still finalising the program and it is to do with the talks as well as the background to it," Norwegian embassy spokesman Erik Nurnberg said late Monday, adding Hanssen-Bauer would be in the country until about the end of the week.

On Sunday night the rebels said they were suspending their participation in talks set to take place in Switzerland next week on saving the truce in place since February 2002.

In a letter to Norway, the LTTE said that they would not attend the talks in Switzerland until Colombo removed "restrictions" on their cadres.

The rebels complained of "excessive interference" by the navy in their efforts to hold consultations with their field commanders ahead of the Swiss talks.

First Published: Apr 18, 2006 15:26 IST