Sri Lanka military: Weekend battles kill 81 rebels, 11 soldiers

Fierce weekend fighting in Sri Lanka's northern region killed 81 Tamil separatists and 11 government soldiers, the military said Monday. On Sunday, army troops killed five Tamil Tiger rebels in separate clashes along the front lines separating government-controlled territory with the rebels' de facto state in the north, a Defense Ministry official said on condition of anonymity, citing government regulations. He said the fighting also killed one soldier and wounded two others. At least 66 guerrillas and nine soldiers were killed in the fierce daylong battle, Nanayakkara said. Fifty-one guerrillas and 34 soldiers were wounded, he said. However, in a statement late Saturday, rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan said 30 soldiers died and 75 were wounded, and that only three rebels had been killed in the battle.