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Sri Lanka says senior Tigers ‘dead’

[Al Jazeera, Monday, 18 May 2009 06:51 4 Comments]

200951842413868734_5 Sri Lanka’s defence ministry says the son of the Tamil Tigers’ leader has been found dead.

Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, a military spokesman, said on Monday that security forces found the body of Charles Anthony as well as three other senior separatist leaders.

Charles Anthony is the 24-year-old son of Velupillai Prabhakaran, the Tamil Tigers chief whose whereabouts are not known.

Also among the dead were Balasingham Nadesan, the head of the political wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), commonly known as the Tamil Tigers, Nanayakkara said.
Seevaratnam Puleedevan and S Ramesh, the separatists’ eastern leader, were also killed, the military said.

The statement comes as the military refused to accept a ceasefire from the Tamil Tigers group, which a day earlier laid down its arms and declared that its 26-year battle with the government had come to a "bitter end".

Selvarasa Pathmanathan, the Tigers’ international spokesman, said: "We have decided to silence our guns."

However, the military says it will continue its offensive and described Monday’s activities as "mopping up" operations.

Keheliya Rambukwella, a defence ministry spokesman, told Al Jazeera on Monday that the government had "had enough of ceasefires".

"As usual they [Tamil Tigers] are going to strengthen and rearm themselves," he said.

The government will accept a ceasefire only if it helps civilians, he said.

The government maintains that the tens of thousands of civilians who had been trapped in the small area of conflict had finally been able to leave on Sunday.

Sri Lanka says it will now kill or capture remnants of the LTTE army, with an intensive search under way for Prabhakaran.

Nanayakkara said Prabhakaran’s fate was unknown, adding "we have not found him dead or alive yet, but we know what we will do when we get him".

There has been no comment from the LTTE on the latest claims over casualties.

‘Conflict not resolved’

Far from the battlefield, thousands of Sri Lankans hugged soldiers, waved flags, set off firecrackers and danced to the beat of traditional drums in the streets of the capital, Colombo, celebrating the end of more than 25 years of conflict.

Despite the government’s apparent crushing military victory against the Tigers, Erik Solheim, a Norwegian minister and former negotiator in the conflict, warned on Sunday that "peace is long from being won".

"The Sri Lankan authorities must demonstrate generosity towards the Tamil population and grant Tamils autonomy and create a state that includes everyone," Solheim, who is Norway’s international development and environment minister, said.

"The conflict is not resolved even if the battle has been won."

Norway helped broker a ceasefire in February 2002, which came to an end in October 2006 when peace negotiations broke down.

Pathmanathan, the Tigers’ spokesman, said bodies of thousands of wounded and slain civilians remain in the war zone.

Refugee legacy

The Sri Lankan ministry of disaster management and human rights said on Sunday that it was continuing to process civilians rescued from the fighting.

Rajiva Wijesinha, a secretary at the ministry, told Al Jazeera from Colombo: "We heard that the last of them [civilians] had been saved. This was one of our great priorities in the last couple of weeks to make sure we got the civilians safely away."

The government and the Tigers alike have been criticised for not allowing civilians to safely leave the area and for precipitating a humanitarian disaster.

More than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict that started in 1983 and the UN says 6,000 were killed and hundreds of thousands displaced in just the last four months.

‘Struggle to continue’

The Tamil Tigers once controlled nearly a fifth of the Indian ocean island nation, running a shadow state that had courts, police and a tax system along with an army, navy and even nascent air force.

But by Sunday, government troops had surrounded the remaining fighters in a one sq km patch of land and were seeing suicide bomb attempts and plain suicides by fighters, the military said.

However, the struggle for a homeland for ethnic Tamils who say they are marginalised by the ruling majority Sinhalese government would continue, Rajavarothiam Sampanthan, the leader of the Tamil National Alliance, told Al Jazeera.

"The Tamil struggle started long before the Tigers were born and will continue after the end of the Tigers," he said from Chennai in India.

[Full Coverage]

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4 Comments »

  • sasi said:

    The Sri Lanken government lie no end. LTTE leader Prabakaren is not die. And other head leaders not die. They already escape other side. The government is a Terrorist. Mahinda is a bladdy horror man.

  • Kukoo said:

    You are half right..half wrong. You look like a human but behave like a carnivorous animal. Do you know your ancestors? Your mother Kuveni was a human but your father was a lion. If you don’t believe me read the history…your own history "Mahavamsa"

  • Anusha said:

    You stupid singalese, don’t you have a brain to think right???…It took you 2 bloody day to fabricate those of your fancy pictures of the "so-called body" of our leader – dream on poo sucking dogs! Go and lick your bloody president’s back side, soon to be late-president!

    Your skills in computer graphics are so poor – it’s appaling!

    Just go and celebrate in your corners cause soon you wont have any corners to hide ! Just remember this date in history: 6th August 1945…

  • abcslx said:

    listen ltte ,

    we have prof …don’t carry ..you will be di …
    fucking ltte…you can’t get our country we are lions