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21 civilians dead in Sri Lankan violence

  |   Feb. 22, 2009 at 8:42 PM
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Sri Lankan police claimed Sunday Tamil Tiger rebels had killed 21 civilians in a village in the country's Eastern province.

The Media Center for National Security said the attack occurred Saturday in Karamatiyawa, a predominantly Sinhalese village, Lanka Page reported.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan army said Sunday about 70,000 civilians remained within the control of the rebel forces. Brig. Gen. Udaya Nanayakkara said nearly 35,800 civilians have fled the northern region where the rebel forces are hanging on as the army attempts to end the years-long civil war.

The Press Trust of India reported Sunday that the wife and two children of Tigers leader Velupillai Prabhakaran have left the country.

"Intelligence agencies say that Prabhakaran is still in this area, but that his wife Madhivadani, daughter Dwarakarnam and youngest son Balachnadran have fled the country," the Lakbima News reported.

Prabhakaran's eldest son, Charles Anthony, reportedly is still in Sri Lanka, PTI said, citing information obtained by a Tiger suicide cadre arrested around a month ago.

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