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Clash in Sri Lanka kills two policemen

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February 25, 2001 


COLOMBO- (AP) - Two policemen were killed Saturday during a clash with Tamil Tiger rebels, days after the latter extended a unilateral cease-fire for another month.

The policemen died in the village of Muthugala in the Welikanda area, about 190 kilometers (120 miles) northeast of the capital Colombo, said Ariya Rubasinghe, director of government information.

There were conflicting reports about the incident. Rubasinghe said the dead men had been among several policemen who were lying in ambush when they confronted the rebels.

The militants escaped with their casualties, he said.

However, military spokesman, Brig. Sanath Karunaratne, said that the rebels had "attacked the village," violating their own cease-fire.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels on Thursday extended a unilateral cease-fire for the second time, saying they wanted peace talks.

The LTTE have been fighting since 1983 for a separate Tamil homeland in the north and east. More than 63,000 people have been killed.

The government rejected the cease-fire offer, but said it is ready for talks at any time.

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