Prabhakaran still in Sri Lanka, says LTTE

January 27th, 2009 - 3:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Jan 27 (IANS) The elusive Tamil Tigers chief Velupillai Prabhakaran is still in Sri Lanka and “giving leadership to our freedom struggle”, the rebels have said, denying reports that he had fled.Speaking to the BBC Sinhala radio service over telephone Monday, P. Nadesan, the political wing leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), dismissed reports that Prabhakaran had escaped from Sri Lanka.

“It is malicious propaganda. Our leader is still with us, our leader is giving leadership to our freedom struggle. He is with our people,” the BBC quoted Nadesan as saying.

Sri Lanka’s Army Chief Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka has claimed after the capture of the LTTE’s garrison town of Mullaitivu that 95 percent of the war against the Tigers was over.

Prabhakaran, who founded the LTTE in 1976, is known to have deep and seemingly secure underground caves in the dense forests of Mullaitivu, the district where the Tigers have been cornered by Sri Lankan forces.

Seeking to play down the military setbacks the LTTE has suffered in recent times, Nadesan vowed that the guerrillas would fight on.

“In a liberation war it is normal for a force to lose territory and regain the same and achieve freedom. In the past we have withdrawn many times and bounced back to achieve big victories,” Nadesan said.

Asked why the LTTE would not lay down its arms and resume talks with Colombo, he said: “We took up arms to safeguard our people. We need a guarantee of living with freedom and dignity and sovereignty… until (such time), we will not come to that point.”

Nadesan, a former Sri Lankan police constable who formerly headed the LTTE police force, accused the army of shelling civilians in areas the government had designated safe zones.

Meanwhile, a Sri Lankan court Monday issued arrest warrants against Prabhakaran and three others for the murder of former foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar in August 2005.

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