Thursday, May 21, 2009

LTTE leaders killed by Tigers: Kohona

The desperate efforts of two senior LTTE leaders trapped in the war zone to save their lives were revealed as it emerged they were shot dead as they prepared to surrender to Sri Lankan Government forces.

In a flurry of e-mails, text messages and telephone calls that passed between NGOs, a foreign government and Sri Lankan officials in Colombo, the two LTTE political leaders frantically inquired as to how they could give themselves up.

They were told: "Get a piece of white cloth, put up your hands and walk towards the other side in a non-threatening manner."

But the attempt to surrender by Balasingham Nadesan, head of the LTTE's wing, and Seevaratnam Pulidevan, who led the rebels' peace secretariat, failed. Sometime between midnight on May 17 and the early hours of the next morning, the two men were shot dead. LTTE officials overseas claim the two men were killed by Government troops as they approached them bearing a white flag. The Sri Lankan Government has suggested the two men may have been shot dead by LTTE fighters, angry at them fleeing the conflict zone.

The Government's point man in the negotiations appears to have been Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona. He said that in the days leading up to Sunday evening, he had received a number of messages indicating that Mr. Nadesan and Mr. Pulidevan – whom he has met at various peace talks – wanted a way out. It is understood that a number of these messages were delivered from an European NGO with a history of working in northern Sri Lanka.

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