LTTE ’silences’ guns, says war has reached ‘bitter end’ (Second Lead)May 17th, 2009 - 6:20 pm ICT by IANS
Colombo, May 17 (IANS) Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger guerrillas Sunday dramatically announced that they were silencing their guns, ending a dragging armed struggle for a Tamil state that has killed thousands since 1983 and left the island nation battered and bruised.
As the military continued its advance to overwhelm the last pockets of guerrilla resistance, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said in a statement that it had decided to “silence” its guns and that its fight for a Tamil homeland “has reached its bitter end”.
The surprise announcement came amid intense rumours that their elusive leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was dead. But there was no word on the event from either Colombo or the LTTE.
“This battle has reached its bitter end… We have decided to silence our guns,” said the LTTE statement from S. Pathmanathan, head of the group’s International Relations department and posted on the TamilNet website.
“Our only regrets are for the lives lost and that we could not hold out for longer,” it said, a day after Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced a conclusive defeat of the feared LTTE.
Pathmanathan, a Prabhakaran confidant who lives outside Sri Lanka, blamed the international community for the plight of the Tamil civilians killed and wounded in the relentless military onslaught in the country’s north.
Accusing Sri Lanka of killing several thousand Tamils since 2007, it said: “We need to do everything within our means to stop this carnage. If this means silencing our arms and entering a peace process, that is something that we have already agreed to.
“This is the need of the hour. These are historically unprecedented times and require historically prudent decisions.”
Pathmanathan alleged that a large number of innocent Tamils had fallen victim to bombs, shells, illness and hunger in the areas held by the LTTE in the military offensive.
“We cannot permit any more harm to befall them. We remain with one last choice — to remove the last weak excuse of the enemy for killing our people. We have decided to silence our guns.”
Pathmanathan’s statement came after President Rajapaksa said in Jordan Saturday: “(I) will be going back to my country that has been totally freed from the barbaric acts of terrorism of the LTTE. This freedom comes after 30 long years”.
The LTTE, founded in 1976, stepped up its armed campaign in 1983 to carve out an independent Tamil Eelam state in Sri Lanka’s northeast. It has now been outlawed as a terrorist group by more than 30 countries including the US, Canada, India and the European Union.
The Tamil struggle has killed thousands, with some estimating the toll at nearly 100,000.
- LTTE decides to end its bloody armed struggle (Lead) - May 17, 2009
- Sri Lanka welcomes foreign aid - May 19, 2012
- LTTE ends armed struggle; questions remain about Prabhakaran (Nightlead) - May 17, 2009
- LTTE tortured and killed while fighting Indians: Book - Jul 12, 2012
- LTTE chief Prabhakaran reportedly shot dead - May 18, 2009
- A year later, few in Sri Lanka mourn Prabhakaran - May 17, 2010
- India wanted LTTE 'put in its place': Norway report - Nov 11, 2011
- Sri Lanka confirms arrest of new Tamil Tigers leader (Lead) - Aug 07, 2009
- Will get Sri Lankan Tamils their rights: Jayalalithaa - Aug 11, 2011
- Bodies of Prabhakaran's son, six LTTE leaders found (Third Lead) - May 18, 2009
- A candid post-mortem of the LTTE (Book Review) - Jul 16, 2012
- LTTE network shattered forever: Sri Lanka - Aug 09, 2009
- Sri Lanka admits civilian deaths during separatist war - Aug 02, 2011
- Don't attend Sri Lanka military conference: rights body - May 24, 2011
- LTTE: A Chronology - May 17, 2009
Tags: bitter end, carnage, confidant, island nation, liberation tigers of tamil eelam, liberation tigers of tamil eelam ltte, ltte statement, mahinda rajapaksa, military onslaught, peace process, president mahinda rajapaksa, prudent decisions, silences, sri lankan president, surprise announcement, tamil civilians, tamil homeland, tamil tiger guerrillas, tamilnet, tamils