Skip to main content
CNN.com International
The Web    CNN.com      Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ON TV
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WORLD

Fighting breaks out in Sri Lanka

From CNN Correspondent Kasra Naji

story.tigers.prabhakaranafp.jpg
Top Tiger commander Vellupillai Prabhakaran inspects troops.

Story Tools

more videoVIDEO
Veteran politician Mahinda Rajapakse takes office as new prime minister.
Many Sri Lankans believe the vote won't boost stability.
RELATED
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Sri Lanka
Guerrilla Activities
Civil Unrest
Tamil Tigers

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CNN) -- At least eight fighters are dead and five wounded after a battle broke out between two rival factions of the Tamil Tiger rebels.

It is the first outbreak of fighting since rebels and the Sri Lankan government signed a cease-fire in 2002, a rebel source said.

The fighting between the two Tamil factions, which split last month, was in the eastern part of the island along the Verugal River, which has become the de facto border between the two groups.

In early March, a Tamil commander, Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, broke away from the main rebel army, taking more than a third of its 15,000 fighters.

Scandinavian cease-fire monitors said 30 female fighters belonging to the breakaway group have been detained by the main rebel faction.

The Tigers do not tolerate dissent and usually kill anyone who challenges their top commander Vellupillai Prabhakaran.

The rebels have waged a violent 20-year guerilla war against the Sri Lankan government that has left more than 65,000 people dead.

The Sri Lankan army has a large presence near the river, and could easily be drawn into any conflict, The Associated Press reports.

The Tigers, classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department, is fighting for a homeland for Sri Lanka's Tamil minority, who are mostly Hindu, separate from the country's Sinhalese majority, who are mostly Buddhist.

In elections last week, the issue of how to handle an ongoing peace process with the Tamil rebels helped topple the government of former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The new prime minister, Mahinda Rajapakse, is aligned with President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who charged that Wickremesinghe was making too many concessions to the rebels in the peace talks.


Story Tools
Click Here to try 4 Free Trial Issues of Time! cover
Top Stories
Iran poll to go to run-off
Top Stories
EU 'crisis' after summit failure
 
 
 
 

CNN US
On CNN TV E-mail Services CNN Mobile CNN AvantGo CNNtext Ad info Preferences
SEARCH
   The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser.
CNN.com does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.