New violence leaves 2 dead in Sri Lanka

New violence left two civilians dead and at least three other people wounded in northern Sri Lanka on Thursday, just days after a Japanese envoy failed to persuade separatist Tamil Tiger rebels and the government to resume peace talks in an effort to prevent a return to civil war.

Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels threw grenades at an army checkpoint in Jaffna, wounding one soldier and triggering a gunfight in which one of the attackers was also injured, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Also in Jaffna, about 300 kilometers (190 miles) north of the capital, Colombo, suspected separatist rebels attacked a military bunker with grenades and small arms fire, injuring a soldier and killing a civilian, the ministry said.

In a separate incident Thursday, unidentified gunmen fatally shot an ethnic minority Tamil civilian in eastern Sri Lanka, police said.

The gunmen shot Kandasamy Jayasurendran, 21, as he worked at a barber shop in Muttur, close to the port town of Trincomalee, 215 kilometers (135 miles) northeast of Colombo, area police officer D.M. Abeywardena said.

Police said they were unaware of the motive for the killing, but friends of the victim who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution said Jayasurendran was close to Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels.

On Tuesday, Japanese peace envoy Yasushi Akashi failed to convince the rebels to resume peace talks with the government.

Akashi, Japan's special envoy to Sri Lanka since 2002, said relations between the government and the rebels have plunged to the worst level since their 2002 cease-fire, reports the AP.


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