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Truce monitors warn of war in Sri Lanka


COLOMBO, Dec 29 (AFP): Norwegian-led truce monitors warned Thursday that war "may not be far away" in Sri Lanka and urged an immediate end to spiralling violence as officials said two more rebels were shot dead.
Troops killed two suspected Tamil Tigers as they lobbed two grenades at soldiers in the restive northern peninsula of Jaffna, military officials said.
The men were killed at Kadduwan near the town of Jaffna Wednesday evening, officials said, adding that the soldiers were unhurt.
Security forces also found a landmine set up along a key highway in the northwestern region Thursday. Two soldiers were injured Thursday when they were attacked by a grenade at Nallur in Jaffna, military officials said.
The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), comprising members from five Nordic countries, said they themselves were under threat and could not operate in an insecure environment.
At least 83 people have been killed this month alone in violence linked to the decades-old Tamil separatist conflict despite a Norwegian-arranged truce that has been in place since February 23, 2002.
Haukland said the "volatile situation" had made the mission's own monitoring work difficult and they were also threatened by unidentified elements.
He said only a dialogue between the government and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) could bring peace to Sri Lanka where more than 60,000 people have been killed in three decades of violence.
On Wednesday peace broker Norway urged Colombo and the Tigers immediately to resume talks to save their faltering truce.
Norway's International Development Minister Erik Solheim said in a statement that Oslo was "deeply concerned" about the latest turn of events.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has been in neighbouring India since Tuesday to hold talks in a bid to secure New Delhi's increased involvement in the island's peace process.