LTTE leader Prabhakaran, son and five other leaders dead

May 18th, 2009 - 4:12 pm ICT by John Le Fevre  

LTTE leader Prabhakaran The Sri Lankan government has confirmed that Velupillai Prabhakaran, the 54-year-old leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), or Tamil Tigers as they are more commonly termed, is dead.

According to government sources Prabhakaran, who lead the LTTE for it’s entire 33 years, was shot dead while trying to flee the war zone in an ambulance before dawn.

The Sri Lankan army also confirmed the death of four leading LTTE cadre, including Prabhakaran’s eldest son, Charles Anthony.

A large explosion in a bunker yesterday prompted speculation that Prabhakaran and other senior commanders may have killed themselves in keeping with the LTTE tradition of suicide.

During previous rounds of fighting, Prabhakaran had reportedly told his bodyguards to kill him and burn his body beyond recognition rather than allow his capture.

The Sri Lankan army is currently completing mopping up operations, with the last remnants of the once feared LTTE fighting from bunkers in an area about the size of three football pitches placed side by side.

The defense ministry said special forces found the bodies of the rebels’ political wing leader, Balasingham Nadesan, the head of the rebels’ peace secretariat, Seevaratnam Puleedevan, and one of the top military leaders, known as Ramesh.

Also reportedly found dead were the LTTE’s police chief Ilango and its deputy intelligence chief Kapil Amman.

The defense ministry said the bodies of many more rebels were scattered about the area and were not yet identified.

The Tamil Tigers have been blamed for hundreds of suicide attacks and more than 70,000 people have been killed in the fighting over the years as the LTTE fought for a separate state for Sri Lanka’s ethnic Tamil minority after years of marginalization at the hands of the Sinhalese majority.

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