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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 March 2007, 18:50 GMT
New clashes in eastern Sri Lanka
By Roland Buerk
BBC News, Colombo

A Sri Lankan military armoured vehicle in Batticaloa on 27 February 2007
The fighting has been escalating in eastern Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka's defence ministry says soldiers have recovered the bodies of 14 Tamil Tigers after a battle in the east of the country.

There has been escalating fighting as government forces try to drive the rebels from pockets they still control.

The confrontation took place after dark in Batticaloa district.

Soldiers on patrol came across a group of Tamil Tigers and clashes broke out. One soldier was killed and 10 wounded. The Tigers have not commented.

People in Batticaloa say there was heavy artillery and rocket fire throughout Sunday.

More refugees have crossed from Tiger controlled areas in the district into government held territory, while more than 40,0000 people have fled their homes in recent days.

Meanwhile, President Mahinda Rajapakse, has called on the police to be more responsible and intervene to prevent extortion and human rights violations.

The bodies of 10 people, the victims of execution style killings, have been recovered in the last two weeks.

The president said the murders were an attempt to discredit the government.

International rights organisations say abuses have increased as Sri Lanka has slid back into civil war. The situation in the country is likely to be discussed when the United Nations Human Rights Council meets in Geneva this week.

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