Bodies of Prabhakaran’s son, six LTTE leaders found (Third Lead)May 18th, 2009 - 2:34 pm ICT by IANS
Colombo, May 18 (IANS) In a macabre end to one of the world’s longest running insurgencies, the bodies of Tamil Tigers chief Velupillai Prabhakaran’s son and six key rebel leaders have been found in a war-battered strip of Sri Lanka’s northern coast, the government said Monday.
The defence ministry said soldiers combing the small area where the last of the fighters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had held on found the body of Charles Anthony, Prabhakaran’s elder son who was being reportedly groomed to take over the leadership.
It was not clear if Charles Anthony, who studied in Ireland and who headed the LTTE’s Information Technology unit, and the others were killed in fighting or had committed suicide to avoid capture. There was no word on Prabhakaran, who has led the LTTE since it was formed in 1976 with a view to carve out an independent Tamil state in Sri Lanka’s northeast.
Soldiers also stumbled upon the bodies of Balasingham Nadesan, head of the LTTE’s political wing, Seevaratnam Puleedevan, who headed the LTTE’s Peace Secretariat, Ramesh, a military leader, Ilango, head of LTTE’s police unit, Sudarman, an aide to Charles Anthony, and Kapil Amman from the LTTE intelligence wing.
Puleedevan dealt extensively with the diplomatic community during the Norway-brokered ceasefire agreement between Colombo and the LTTE from 2002 until it collapsed under renewed violence within a few years.
Anthony’s body was found at Karayamullavaikkal in Mullaitivu district, about 395 km northeast of Colombo, “after an unsuccessful and half-hearted attempt by LTTE cadres to evacuate their leader’s son early this morning”, the ministry said. Some bodies were found in the nearby Vellamullivaikkal area.
Bodies of more LTTE fighters had been spotted, the defence ministry said.
The discovery of the bodies came a day after the LTTE made a momentous announcement that it had decided to “silence” its guns as the “battle has reached its bitter end”.
The announcement, made on a pro-LTTE Tamil website, sparked off intense speculation that Prabhakaran, who is also wanted in neighbouring India for the 1991 assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, may also have died.
But a LTTE leader based in the West, Selvarajah Pathmanathan, told a pro-LTTE radio station Sunday that Prabhakaran was still in Sri Lanka and that he had spoken to him, apparently over telephone, for four hours.
Pathmanathan, known widely by his nom de guerre KP, said the LTTE would like to end this war which has gone on for over a quarter century and left nearly 90,000 people dead.
This was also Prabhakaran’s wish, Pathmanathan said.
“Prabhakaran … passed this message to the Sri Lanka government and international players,” he said. “We believe in peaceful way…”
But the Sri Lankan military, determined to have a total victory over the LTTE, continued its last of mopping up operations saying some fighters had been boxed into a 100m x 100m area, north of Vellamullivaikkal.
Although Prabhakaran founded the LTTE in 1976, Tamil militancy took the form of an insurgency only in 1983. At one time, the LTTE controlled almost a third of Sri Lanka’s land territory and two-third of its coastline.
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