Denied leave, Lankan soldier kills three

Agence France Presse

Colombo, April 16:

A Sri Lankan soldier enraged over not being given home leave for the traditional New Year shot dead his superior officer and two colleagues today, officials said. The soldier was overpowered after he killed a major and two soldiers in the northern peninsula of Jaffna, military officials here said. They said the soldier was handed over to the local police together with the automatic assault rifle used against the three men. “It looks like some dispute over granting leave,” a military source said. “An investigation is underway.” Meanwhile, suspected Tamil Tiger rebels killed a Tamil government official in eastern Sri Lanka, police said today. AK Thavarajah, divisional secretary for Thirukkovil, was shot four times yesterday as he was riding a motorcycle, police said. Thirukkovil is south of Batticaloa, Sri Lanka’s main eastern town. Police said they believed Tamil Tiger rebels were behind the killing. They said Thavarajah, a Tamil himself, had apparently angered the rebels late last year when there was a dispute about putting a portrait of top rebel leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran in his office.

The violence in eastern Sri Lanka has rarely targeted government officials.