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Sri Lankan soldiers fire on separatist guerrillas

Five people were killed in Sri Lanka's northern town of Jaffna when government forces fired on separatist guerrillas, a government spokesman said Tuesday.

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Douglas Liyanage, secretary to the Information Ministry, said an 18-hour curfew was imposed on Jaffna starting at noon Tuesday, local time, after the Tamil separatist guerrillas stepped up attacks. He told reporters three people were killed Monday when troops opened fire after guerrillas ambushed their truck , injuring 14 soldiers in the vehicle.

The guerrillas are fighting for a separate Tamil state in the northern and eastern provinces of Sri Lanka, once known as Ceylon. Tamils, who are 2.5 million of the island's 15 million people, say the government discriminates against them.

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