Sri Lankan television aired footage of Tamil Tiger leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran's lifeless body after President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced the "complete defeat" of the Tiger rebels in an official victory speech to parliament.
For the nearly 80,000 Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka currently living in France, news of Tiger leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran’s apparent death was met with shock, anger and widespread concern over the fates of their loved ones back home.
A statement published on the pro-rebel website Tamilnet.com insists that Tiger leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran was not killed by the military and is 'safe', although it fails to give an indication of his supposed whereabouts.
A day after the Sri Lankan military said it had killed Tamil Tiger chief Vellupillai Prabharakan, President Mahinda Rajapakse announced the "complete defeat" of the Tiger rebels in an official victory speech to parliament Tuesday.
Civil war in Sri Lanka began in the 1980s, although tensions between the Tamils and Sinhalese go back further - and are unlikely to go away, despite the Tigers’ defeat at the hands of the Sri Lankan army.
Tamil Tiger leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran is dead, the Sri Lankan military has claimed. His death, if confirmed, could signal the end of a bitter civil war that has torn Sri Lanka in two over nearly 30 years.
The Sri Lankan military announced on Monday that the leader of the island's Tamil Tigers was "alive but surrounded" by government troops, after claiming earlier that three senior rebel leaders had been killed in the conflict zone.