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Sri Lanka training civilians to use guns in separatist strife

Sri Lanka's authorities started a program Thursday to train civilians in the use of firearms as part of the battle against Tamil guerrillas fighting for a separate state. The Internal Security Ministry said police were forming vigilante committees of civilians in Colombo and other main cities to protect their neighborhoods during civil unrest.

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More than 400 people have been killed since separatists from the minority Tamil community stepped up attacks a month ago, according to official figures.

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