A military spokesman said ground troops reported that civilians were killed in crossfire after a Tamil Tiger blast in the northern district of Vavuniya killed five soldiers on Saturday, and that police were investigating.
   
However, Olafsdottir, from the SLMM that oversees the 2002 ceasefire, said: "Witnesses say that soldiers jumped over the fence, into the agricultural school premises, and opened fire. They shot from close range, five of the students were killed and at least 10 others were injured."
   
The killings are the latest in a series of abuses that monitors have pinned on both sides. This new phase in the island's civil war has caused more than 67,000 deaths since 1983, more than 3,000 of them this year alone.