COLOMBO, SRI LANKA -- House-to-house fighting broke out today between Indian peace-keeping troops and Tamil separatists in the northern Sri Lanka town of Jaffna and dozens of the guerrillas were killed, a Sri Lankan military spokesman said.

He said reports were sketchy and Indian casualties were not known but added: "There is heavy fighting in town."

The spokesman said in four days of clashes about 200 guerrillas from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam had been killed and more than 250 captured. Indian casualties were nine killed and "two to three dozen" wounded. The guerrillas are seeking to establish an independent nation for their ethnic minority.

Most of those killed were members of the Sinhalese community, the country's majority ethnic group.

A shoot-on-sight curfew clamped on Jaffna since Saturday was relaxed briefly to let the town's estimated 135,000 residents seek shelter at Indian-protected refugee centers.

About 15,000 Indian had been deployed to Sri Lanka in an attempt to disarm the rebels and enforce a July 29 peace plan signed by India and Sri Lanka.

In a surprise television address, Sri Lankan President Junius Jayewardene announced that Sri Lanka would abrogate part of the peace accord by moving its troops out of their barracks to guard Sinhalese settlements in Eastern Province, where many of last week's massacres took place.