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Last Updated: Monday, 12 June 2006, 05:30 GMT 06:30 UK
Soldier killed in Sri Lanka blast
At least one soldier has been killed and three civilians wounded in a mine explosion in northern Sri Lanka, police say.

The mine attack targeted a group of soldiers on foot patrol near the town of Vavuniya early on Monday, police official Gamini Silva said.

A bus carrying civilians was also hit, with three passengers wounded.

Police said the attack was similar to ones carried out by separatist Tamil Tiger rebels.

The rebels have not commented on the incident.

There have been a series of mine attacks in Sri Lanka in recent weeks.

Last week, at least 10 Tamils were killed in a mine explosion in rebel-held territory near the town of Batticaloa in eastern Sri Lanka.

A rebel statement blamed the army for the blast, which the military denied.

Rising violence

Monday's mine explosion comes after talks between the rebels and the Sri Lankan government in Oslo broke down.

The talks were due to focus on the security of European ceasefire monitors deployed in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan soldiers
There has been a rise in violence in Sri Lanka
But the rebels refused to meet Sri Lankan government representatives face-to-face, saying they would only talk to Norwegian mediators.

Following the breakdown of talks, Norway wrote to both sides demanding a written response to questions relating to their commitment to the ceasefire.

The government and the rebels last held direct peace talks in February, but violence swiftly resumed. Two months of violence have claimed more than 300 lives.

Suspected rebel attacks on security forces and killings of Tamils blamed on the army and others have soared in recent months.

The ceasefire monitors have accused both sides of violating a truce agreed in 2002.


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