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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 January 2008, 12:35 GMT
Tamil intelligence chief killed
Motorists entering Colombo being checked
Tighter security is in force since the peace accord was ended
The intelligence chief of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels has been killed, officials and pro-rebel sources say.

The man, known as Colonel Charles, died when his car hit a landmine planted by government troops in rebel territory, according to a pro-Tiger website.

The government says he was one of at least 34 rebels killed in clashes in the northern Mannar district.

On Wednesday, the government withdrew from a peace deal, saying violence by the rebels had made it pointless.

The accord was signed in 2002, but more than 5,000 people are thought to have been killed since 2006, when fresh violence erupted.

Map

The government says about 50 rebels have been killed since the start of the year, against three of its own soldiers.

The two sides rarely agree on casualty figures, and journalists are usually barred from conflict zones in Sri Lanka so cannot verify them independently.

The Tigers themselves have said nothing about the death of Col Charles - whose real name was Shanmuganathan Ravishankar.

The government denied the claim by Tamilnet.com that he had been killed by a deep penetration unit. It said he must have been caught up in fighting and exchanges of artillery fire.

Either way, his death is the latest in a series of reverses for the rebels.

  • The government said it injured Tigers leader Velupillai Prabhakaran in an air strike in November
  • Head of political wing SP Thamilselvan was killed in an air raid earlier in the month
  • Top Tiger Karunakaran Kandasamy was arrested in the US on terror charges in April

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) demand their own state in north and east Sri Lanka for the Tamil minority.

Since President Mahinda Rajapakse was elected in 2005 the government has driven the Tigers out of the east.

Correspondents say it now wishes to defeat them in the north too.



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