Prabhakaran surrounded by government troops, claims Lankan army

May 18th, 2009 - 1:57 pm ICT by ANI  

Colombo, May 18 (ANI): The Sri Lankan Army on Monday claimed that Liberation of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) chief Velupillai Prabhakaran, is alive and surrounded by government troops.

A BBC report quoted a military spokesman as saying that Prabhakaran is guarded by about 200 rebels in a small patch of jungle.

Earlier, four senior rebel leaders were killed in fighting, the army said.

They included the head of the Tigers’ political wing, Balasingham Nadesan, the head of rebels’ peace secretariat Seevaratnam Puleedevan, and a military leader known as Ramesh.

The army also says it has found the body of Prabhakaran’s son, Charles Anthony.

The latest claims cannot be verified as reporters are barred from the war zone.

Meanwhile, injured civilians continue to leave Sri Lanka’s war zone to get medical care.

The movement of civilians out of the war zone comes as the LTTE conceded defeat after sending out suicide attackers as part of a last-ditch attempt to keep the military’s final assault at bay on the square kilometre they control.

“This battle has reached its bitter end. We have decided to silence our guns,” the LTTE’s diplomatic chief, Selvarajah Pathmanathan, said in a statement posted on the pro-rebel web site on Sunday

A day before, Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa had declared victory after troops seized the entire coast for the first time since the war erupted in 1983.

Rajapaksa is due to formally make a victory announcement in parliament on Tuesday morning.

The final battle picked up speed after the last of 72,000 civilians who have fled over four days were freed, the military said.

Injured civilians were put on to trucks by soldiers and seen driving away from the makeshift tents.

The United Nations and others say the Tigers had been holding them as human shields, and warned that they were at grave risk. (ANI)

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