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The World

January 20, 1986

More than 20 people died in a gun battle between separatist guerrillas and security forces in Sri Lanka's major eastern coastal city of Batticaloa. Heavy fighting broke out when a special task force including helicopters was called in after a dawn ambush in which guerrillas killed two policemen and wounded two others. A Defense Ministry spokesman said 13 guerrillas were killed by gunfire and that seven others committed suicide by swallowing cyanide pills. Other sources put the guerrilla toll as high as 30.

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