Home International LTTE admits finally that Prabhakaran is dead

LTTE admits finally that Prabhakaran is dead


New Delhi/Colombo: The Tamil Tigers admitted Sunday “with heavy hearts” the death of their leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, almost a week after Sri Lanka announced he had been killed.

“We announce today, with inexpressible sadness and heavy hearts, that our incomparable leader and supreme commander … attained martyrdom fighting the military oppression,” the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said.

S. Pathmanathan, the LTTE’s head of international relations, said that Prabhakaran, 54, “was the heart and soul and the symbol of hope, pride and determination for the whole nation of people of Tamil Eelam.”

Al Jazeera quoted the statement as saying that the LTTE was forced to take on the military of a country that enjoyed the backing of the international community.

“Our leader confronted this threat without any hesitation. He would not waver in his desire to be with his people and fight for his people till the end.

“His final request was for the struggle to continue until we achieve the freedom for his people. His legend and the historical status as the Greatest Tamil Leader ever are indestructible,” Pathmanathan said.

Until now the LTTE maintained that Prabhakaran, who set up the Tamil Tigers in 1976 with a view to carve out a Tamil state out of the north and east of Sri Lanka, had not been killed as claimed by the military May 18.

On May 19, Pathmanathan had himself said: “I wish to inform the global Tamil community … that our beloved leader is alive and safe. He will continue to lead the quest for dignity and freedom for the Tamil people.”

Again, the pro-LTTE website Tamil Net had quoted a previously unheard of member of the LTTE intelligence wing as saying that “our beloved leader is alive” and that he would contact the people “at a suitable time in future”.

Other pro-LTTE Internet media too have taken a similar line vis-�-vis Prabhakaran although many conceded that some other top leaders of the group were dead.

According to Sri Lanka, Prabhakaran was killed following heavy fighting with the military, which trapped him close to a lagoon in Mullaitivu district in the island’s north.

He was reportedly with 18 of his bodyguards when he was killed, with a single bullet blowing off the upper portion of his head.

According to Sri Lankan officials, Prabhakaran has been cremated and his ashes have been thrown in the sea.

Born into a middle class family in Jaffna in November 1954, Prabhakaran was the youngest of two boys and two girls. He plunged into militancy in the 1970s and built the LTTE as one of the most ruthless insurgent groups.