Sri Lanka airs video of body claimed to be dead LTTE commander Prabhakaran

May 19th, 2009 - 3:16 pm ICT by John Le Fevre  

LTTE leader Prabhakaran The Sri Lankan army has released video footage showing what it claims to be the body of Vellupillai Prabhakaran, leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), or Tamil Tigers as they are more commonly termed.

The video was released to refute claims made yesterday by LTTE spokesman S. Pathmanathan that Prabhakaran was, “alive and safe” and “will continue to lead the quest for dignity and freedom for the Tamil people.”

Yesterday it was announced by the Sri Lankan defence ministry that 54-year-old Prabhakaran and a number of his cadre’s had been killed as they attempted to flee the field of battle in an armor plated ambulance.

The government statement yesterday also said that the body of Prabhakaran had been taken under special guard to a military base for autopsy and DNA testing.

However, today the Sri Lankan government released a video showing a body that it claims to be Prabhakaran being recovered by Sri Lankan troops from the side of a lagoon.

Sri Lanakan army spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara denied the government had said Prabhakaran had been killed when a rocket was fired into an ambulance being driven at advancing Sri Lankan special forces troops, or that the government had said the body had been badly burned.

According to Nanayakkara, the reports had come from news organizations, which the Sri Lankan army had barred from the field of battle.

The body shown on Sri Lankan television showed a man with Prabhakaran’s appearance and dressed in a military camouflage uniform with a number of bullet wounds to his head on a stretcher surrounded by Sri Lankan soldiers.

The Sri Lankan government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday claimed a final victory over the rebels who, for the past 26-years, have waged a bloody civil war, including carrying out hundreds of suicide attacks, that have seen more than 70,000 people killed.

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