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DATE=11/9/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=SRI LANKA DEFEAT (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-255954 BYLINE=VANDANA CHOPRA DATELINE=COLOMBO CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Sri Lankan President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, has conceded losing towns in the country's north, in the recent fighting between Tamil Tiger rebels and government soldiers. Vandana Chopra has the details from Colombo. TEXT: Sri Lankan President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, says government troops have reported to their respective commanders in the Northern Wanni region of Sri Lanka and have regrouped and reorganized themselves after reports of the worst losses of territory in years to the rebels. President Kumaratunga says the recent spate of confrontations between the government armed forces and rebels has resulted in the loss of control by the army in the strategically important towns of Oddusudan, Nedunkerni, Mankulam and Kanagarayankulam. President Kumaratunga says she has taken serious note of the incidents and directed certain changes in the army's command structure and has also instituted a court of inquiry to examine and report on the battlefield losses. The statement, her first since fierce fighting broke out last week, also criticized the media for having grossly exaggerated casualty figures of government forces. President Kumaratunga says only 101 government troops were killed in the fighting last week with another 743 wounded and 122 missing. The Tamil Tiger rebels claimed about one thousand government soldiers were killed or wounded. Meanwhile, government military officials say troops are taking up new defenses and carrying out small group operations to prevent Tamil Tiger rebels from infiltrating the army lines any further. And the President says government forces have had some recent success against the rebels in the western sector of Wanni. Independent confirmation of events is not possible as journalists are not allowed free access in the war zone. Tiger guerillas have been fighting for a separate homeland for the minority Tamil community in Sri Lanka's North and East since 1983. (Signed) NEB/VC/PLM TEXT: NEB/WTW/ 09-Nov-1999 05:30 AM EDT (09-Nov-1999 1030 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .

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