Sri Lankan mayor assassinated in former rebel stronghold

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Gunmen shot and killed the mayor of Jaffna, a former Tamil rebel stronghold, in an ambush Sunday at her home.
Mayor Sarojini Yogeswaran, the first Jaffna mayor elected in 15 years, was meeting with townspeople when two men burst into her house and fired 10 shots, said V. Ananda Sagari, a spokesman for her moderate political party.
He said another member of the Jaffna municipal council was wounded.
Yogeswaran, 63, a Tamil, had turned down government offers of protection and insisted on having no bodyguards.
The government blamed the attack on the Tamil rebels. No group has claimed responsibility.
The Sri Lankan army captured the northern Jaffna peninsula from the Tamil Tigers in 1995, and the military and federal government ran the city up until Yogeswaran, was elected mayor in January.
The elections, the first in Jaffna since the fighting erupted in 1983, were opposed by the rebels. The vote established local councils that the government hopes will help isolate militants demanding an independent Tamil homeland in northern and eastern Sri Lanka.
Many Tamils accuse the majority Sinhalese, who dominate the government, of widespread discrimination in education and jobs. Tamils comprise 18 percent of the population of 18 million, while Sinhalese make up 70 percent.
Yogeswaran’s husband, Vettivelu, was a Tamil lawmaker assassinated by suspected Tamil separatists in the capital, Colombo, in 1989.