Tamils Kill 18 Near Site of Massacre

Associated Press

Tamil rebels today shot and killed at least 18 Sinhalese villagers in the same area of eastern Sri Lanka where the militants massacred 127 people last week, government sources said.

The government announced this morning that Tamil rebels raided the Trincomalee district village of Vannela, killing at least 10 people. However, government sources said later the death toll had risen to at least 18.

Tilak Ratnakara, chairman of the government media center, confirmed the deaths of 10 civilians, half of them women, in the village 18 miles southwest of the port of Trincomalee. He said the attackers were driven off by Home Guards, local youths armed by the government.

Vannela is about 10 miles from Aluth Oya, where Tamil rebels ambushed three buses, two trucks and a car and killed 127 people on Friday. The government said almost all the victims were Sinhalese, the island's predominant ethnic group.

The latest violence in the Tamil rebels' 4-year-old civil war prompted the government to cancel a unilateral cease-fire. The government said Sunday that it will arm and train about 5,000 Sinhalese and resettle them in the predominantly Tamil eastern province.

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