Two LTTE leaders surrender, 95,000 flee war zone (Lead)

April 22nd, 2009 - 6:01 pm ICT by IANS  

By P. Karunakharan
Colombo, April 22 (IANS) Two second-rung leaders of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have surrendered to the Sri Lankan military as the number of civilians fleeing the no-fire-zone in the rebel-held area rose to 95,000, a military spokesman said Wednesday.

The two LTTE leaders were identified as Tigers’ media coordinator Velayutham Dayanithi alias Daya Master and V.K. Pancharatnam well-known as George, who was English translator to former LTTE political wing head S. Thamilselvan.

“These two LTTE leaders surrendered to the troops at Puthumathalan no-fire-zone this (Wednesday) morning,” Military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told IANS.

George, a retired postmaster, is known to the international media as he had been the official translator for political wing head S.P. Thamilselvan, who was killed in a Sri Lankan air force air raid in November 2007.

He had accompanied Thamilselvan in all the six rounds of peace talks with the Sri Lankan government held between 2002 and 2006 in various foreign capitals.

George, who according to sources, had served in almost all parts of the island nation except the northern and eastern region, is fluent in Tamil, Sinhala and English languages.

Daya Master, a former English teacher at a school in the north, has been coordinating and organising interviews with the LTTE political wing leaders for the local media and foreign media organisations, mainly during the 2002 Norwegian-brokered truce period.

During the previous United National Party (UNP) government, Daya Master was once brought to the Apollo Hospital in Colombo for treatment of his heart ailment.

Brigadier Nanayakkara said that over 95,000 people have fled the LTTE-held areas and entered the government-held areas since Monday morning with the advancing troops cornering the Tamil Tigers into a mere 14 sq km coastal land strip in north-eastern Mullaitivu district.

The total number of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) since the beginning of this year has now gone beyond 165,000.

“Of the total IDPs (who) crossed over to the government-held areas since the beginning of this year, about 3,000 people have self-confessed that they had functioned as members of the LTTE,” Brig. Nanayakkara said.

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