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Tamil Tiger leader fought to the death: rebels

[AFP, Thursday, 18 June 2009 12:32 No Comment]

A newly formed front of the defeated Tamil Tigers on Thursday rejected media reports that their former leader Velupillai Prabhakaran had surrendered or was taken alive before being killed.

A group calling itself the department of intelligence of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said Prabhakaran was killed in May while trying to escape to safety.

"Contradictory information are circulating that he was arrested, that he surrendered, that he was killed after interrogation and that he committed suicide," the group said in an e-mailed statement to news organisations here.

It admitted that they themselves gave conflicting accounts about the fate of Prabhakaran, who the military said was killed in an exchange of fire on May 18 in the island’s northeastern Mullaittivu jungle-lagoon area.

"We confirm emphatically that the National Leader did not surrender and was not arrested but fought attaining martyrdom," the group said citing, unnamed Tiger cadres who escaped the final military offensive.

The group admitted that the Tigers tried, but failed, to secure the escape of Prabhakaran, 54. His eldest son Charles Anthony was killed while the whereabouts of his wife and two other children remain unclear.

The Sri Lankan authorities have not published a post-mortem examination report or officially confirmed how or when Prabhakaran died. Local reports have speculated that he may have been captured or executed after surrendering.

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