Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels fired light machine guns at a military checkpoint in northeastern Sri Lanka, but there were no casualties, a military spokesman said Monday. About a dozen soldiers and an unspecified number of policemen were guarding the checkpoint near the port city of Trincomalee when the rebels fired about 75 rounds at them late Sunday, said Military spokesman Brig. Nalin Witharanage. Trincomalee is under government control, but the rebels operate from nearby villages and jungles. Meanwhile, police searching for suspected Tamil Tiger rebels detained 107 ethnic Tamils over the weekend in the capital, Colombo, Police Inspector S. Wijeyakon said Monday.
Of those, 101 were set free after relatives produced proof of their identities. Most of those detained had no national identity card or couldn't give a satisfactory explanation for their presence in the city, Wijeyakon said.
The government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels remained deadlocked Monday over where to hold the next round of peace talks. The Tigers have reportedly rejected a government proposal to hold a new round of negotiations in Asia. A pro-rebel Web site said Sunday the insurgents want talks to be held in Norway, which helped broker a 2002 cease-fire that halted decades of fighting.
"Issues such as venues ... must be decided by mutual consent," the rebels' top political leader, S. P. Thamilselvan, was quoted as saying on the pro-rebel Web site TamilNet.
The rebels want to create a separate homeland for the country's 3.2 million ethnic Tamils, saying they can prosper only away from the domination of the 14 million Sinhalese.
Six rounds of earlier peace talks were held in Bangkok, Oslo, Berlin and Tokyo. A Norwegian delegation is expected to visit Sri Lanka in the coming weeks to explore the possibility of resuming peace talks, reports the AP. I.L.
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