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Tigers sink Chinese vessel

Colombo, March 21 (Reuters): Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels sank a Chinese trawler and 18 crew members were missing and presumed dead, Sri Lankan military officials said today.

News of yesterday’s attack off the island republic’s northeast coast emerged as government and rebel negotiators were wrapping up a sixth round of peace talks in Japan aimed at ending their 19-year civil war over a separate state for Tamils.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) denied involvement, after initial reports that the rebels had apparently mistaken the boat for a Sri Lankan navy vessel. The trawler was Sri Lankan-registered with Chinese crew and was flying Sri Lankan flags.

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