News In Brief

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.

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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