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Tamil Tigers concede defeat
Published on 18 May. 2009 12:49 AM IST
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The Tamil Tigers have given up their fight against a Sri Lankan government offensive and “have decided to silence our guns,” a statement carried by the pro-rebel Tamilnet website said on Sunday. “This battle has reached its bitter end,” said the admission of defeat from the rebels’ chief of international relations, Selvarasa Pathmanathan. “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. Our only regrets are for the lives lost and that we could not hold out for longer.” The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have been fighting for an independent homeland on the ethnic Sinhalese-majority island since the 1970s. “There is not a person who can doubt the LTTE’s fearless and unending commitment to this cause with which we have been entrusted by our people. No force can prevent the attainment of justice for our people,” Pathmanathan said. “We willingly stand up with courage and silence our guns. We have no other option other than to continue our plea to the international community to save our people.” The statement came as the island’s defence ministry said all civilians held by the Tamil Tigers had escaped the war zone, with the last few rebel fighters boxed into a 2.4-square-kilometre (one-square-mile) patch of jungle. “They were actually defeated some time ago, but they have formally accepted defeat only now,” military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said. “They fought for an Eelam (separate state) that they could never win. It was only a waste of lives. They have caused massive death and destruction over the years. Finally they themselves have realised that it is all over,” he said. No sign of Prabhakaran’s body: Lanka COLOMBO, MAY 17 (AFP): Sri Lanka’s defence ministry said on Sunday its advancing troops had found no trace of defeated Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, although the bodies of two mid-ranking rebels were recovered. Spokesman Lakshman Hulugalle said the military had not found Prabhakaran dead or alive during their offensive and dismissed a flurry of rumours about the fate of the 54-year-old veteran guerrilla leader. “We have no information about Prabhakaran,” Hulugalle said. A military official said the bodies of two mid-level Tiger leaders were identified after a shoot out Sunday while a search for Prabhakaran was under way. Military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said the security forces were yet to come across Prabhakaran and his top aides, including intelligence chief Pottu Amman and Colonel Soosai, the head of the Sea Tiger unit. “We have still not come across Prabhakaran and his senior leaders,” Nanayakkara told reporters here. “We believe they are still in this land. We hope to meet them soon.” Military sources said that Prabhakaran was known to have two body doubles as part of his tight security. The Tiger leader has never been arrested since he jumped bail in neighbouring India in the early 1980s. He is known for wearing a cyanide capsule around his neck with which to commit suicide to prevent being taken alive. The cyanide is a standard part of the Tigers’ uniform.

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