Sri Lankan security forces have been put on high alert in the restive east following a surge in attacks on Tamil Tiger rebels that have threatened the country's fragile three-year truce.
The military blames the attacks on a breakaway faction of the Tamil Tigers, and the rebels blame the military.
On Wednesday, the rebels began shutting down political offices in government-controlled areas, accusing authorities of failing to protect rebels traveling through those regions.
Dozens of Tiger rebels started pulling back Wednesday into rebel-held territory from the eastern cities of Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara.
The rebels have demanded better protection since a bomb narrowly missed a bus carrying 41 rebels last month. Later, two senior rebels were gunned down. The rebels blame the military.