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Tamil civilian fatally shot dead in Sri Lanka

Police said they were unaware of the motive for the killing, but friends of the victim said Jayasurendran was close to the LTTE.

india Updated: May 11, 2006 15:00 IST

Unidentified gunmen fatally shot an ethnic minority Tamil civilian in eastern Sri Lanka on Thursday, police said, in the latest violence to threaten a return to civil war.

The gunmen shot Kandasamy Jayasurendran, 21, as he worked at a barber shop in Mutur, close to the port town of Trincomalee, 215 kilometres northeast of Colombo, area police officer DM Abeywardena said.

Police said they were unaware of the motive for the killing, but friends of the victim said Jayasurendran was close to Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels. They spoke on condition of anonymity, for fear of retribution.

The mainstream LTTE rebels have blamed a breakaway separatist guerrilla group for a spate of recent killings among its ranks in northeastern Sri Lanka.

Wednesday, a Japanese peace envoy failed to convince the government and rebels to resume peace talks.

Yasushi Akashi, Japan's special envoy to Sri Lanka since 2002, said relations between the government and the rebels have plunged to the worst level since their 2002 cease-fire.

More than 150 people have died in violence since the beginning of April.

A powerful rebel commander broke away from the mainstream Tamil Tigers with 6,000 fighters in 2004.

The main guerrilla group calls members of the breakaway faction "paramilitaries," and accuses the government of siding with them in alleged renegade attacks on the mainstream Tigers - a charge the government denies.

First Published: May 11, 2006 15:00 IST