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Power struggle may be brewing among LTTE remnants

By T V Sriram in Colombo
May 25, 2009 22:05 IST
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A power-struggle appears to be brewing among the remnants of the Liberation Tigers of the Tamil Eelam, with one faction claiming that the Tamil Tiger leadership, including its supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran is safe and will re-emerge when the "right time comes".

Two groups of the Tiger remnants have joined issue in the pro-Tiger Tamil website Tamilnet on the fate of Prabhakaran.

Almost, a week after the Sri Lankan government announced that its troops killed the LTTE chief in the fighting in the northern war zone, the groups newly named chief of international relations S Pathmanathan admitted that Prabhakaran was dead.

"We announce today with inexpressible sadness and heavy hearts that our incomparable leader, the supreme commander of the LTTE, attained martyrdom," Pathmanathan said in a statement Sunday.

While Pathmanathan advocated that LTTE which had lost its military capacity will henceforth go for a non-violent struggle, the other group headed by the intelligence wing cadre say they would open their cards at the right moment.

"The Intelligence Department of the Tigers reiterated on Sunday that the LTTE leadership is safe and it will re-emerge when the right time comes", Tamilnet said.

The LTTE's Department for Diaspora Affairs told TamilNet that it would not comment without explicit authorisation from the LTTE leadership on Prabhakaran's death. The website said that Tamil Nadu leaders Vaiko and Pazha Neduraman had also expressed skepticism on the reports of Prabhakaran's death.

The website said, "The general opinion prevails that Colombo has failed in conclusively establishing the evidence for Prabhakaran's death. It has not taken any credible effort to verify evidence either."

As the remnants of the rebels appeared split over the future of the struggle, Sri Lankan government categorically said  on Monday that it would not allow any re-emergence of any terrorist outfit in the north.

Asserting that the LTTE had been "totally destroyed", Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, who is also the brother of President said no terrorist group will be allowed to take root in the country again. The TamilNet is being heavily pressed by its readership to know the truth but it says that it does'nt take any responsibility for any of the stands taken, as these are beyond its independent verification.

The Sri Lankan Army had on Monday last said it has killed the rebel leader when he tried to flee in an ambulance. In a statement signed by Pathmanathan, the rebels said they had declared a week of mourning for their dead leader, starting today.

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T V Sriram in Colombo
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