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DATE=4/1/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-247511 TITLE=LANKA/ATTACK REPORT (L) BYLINE=VANDANA CHOPRA DATELINE=COLOMBO CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: AT LEAST 20 TAMIL TIGER REBELS WERE KILLED IN AN AMBUSH IN SRI LANKA'S NORTH. VANDANA CHOPRA HAS THE DETAILS FROM COLOMBO. TEXT: SRI LANKAN MILITARY OFFICIALS SAY SECURITY FORCES ATTACKED TAMIL TIGER REBELS AS THEY WERE MOVING TOWARDS ODDUSUDAN TOWN IN THE NORTHERN JUNGLE REGION, WANNI. THE DEFENSE MINISTRY STATEMENT DID NOT MENTION ANY MILITARY CASUALTIES. THERE WAS NO IMMEDIATE COMMENT FROM TAMIL TIGER GEURILLAS ON THE LATEST ROUND OF FIGHTING. MEANWHILE, SECURITY OFFICIALS SAY 263 TIGER SEPARATISTS SURRENDERED TO THE SECURITY FORCES AFTER A MILITARY OPERATION. TROOPS RE-CAPTURED 325 SQUARE KILOMETERS OF TERRITORY IN THE NORTHWEST INCLUDING A CATHOLIC PILGRIM TOWN, WHICH HAD BEEN UNDER REBEL CONTROL FOR NEARLY A DECADE. THE TOWN OF MADHU WAS TAKEN EARLIER THIS MONTH SHORTLY AFTER THE MILITARY CAPTURED SOME OTHER REBEL-HELD AREAS IN THE NORTH IN A SURPRISE CAMPAIGN. THE DEFENSE MINISTRY STATEMENT SAYS THE REBELS WERE RELEASED AFTER THEIR NAMES AND OTHER DETAILS WERE RECORDED. INDEPENDENT CONFIRMATION OF THE EVENTS IS NOT POSSIBLE AS JOURNALISTS ARE NOT ALLOWED IN THE WAR-TORN AREAS. TAMIL TIGER REBELS HAVE BEEN FIGHTING FOR A SEPARATE HOMELAND FOR THE MINORITY TAMILS IN SRI LANKA'S NORTH AND EAST FOR NEARLY 16 YEARS. (SIGNED) NEB/VC/LTD/GE 01-Apr-99 8:56 AM EST (1356 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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