Fresh fighting leaves 36 dead in Lanka
At least 36 people including seven soldiers were killed in fresh fighting between security forces and Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka's embattled north, the defence ministry said yesterday.
Three soldiers were killed yesterday in an ambush by the rebels after the military stepped up patrols along the de facto frontlin s separating the mini-state held by the guerrillas, the ministry said.
It said another four soldiers were caught up in a mine attack in which two more soldiers escaped with injuries.
The ministry said 29 guerrillas were killed in four separate confrontations in the Jaffna peninsula and the Mannar districts since late Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International yesterday joined a growing chorus of protests over the mass arrests of thousands of ethnic Tamils in Colombo by Sri Lankan authorities.
The arrests came after two bomb attacks blamed on Tamil Tigers, but has left the island's ethnic Sinhalese-dominated government once again exposed to allegation that it is dealing out collective punishment to the Tamil minority.
Amnesty said it was "deeply concerned that the arrests have been made on arbitrary and discriminatory grounds."
"Those arrested may be detained in inhumane conditions; denied access to lawyers, courts and family members; and face the risk of torture, other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment," a statement from the London-based group said.
Local rights groups have already reacted angrily to the arrests.