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Author Topic: Sri Lanka hails victory as TV shows rebel's 'body'  (Read 2396 times)
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我終於知道曲終人散的寂寞 只有傷心人才有


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« on: May 19, 2009, 07:36:07 AM »

S. Lanka hails victory as TV shows rebel's 'body'
AFP - Wednesday, May 20

COLOMBO (AFP) - - Sri Lanka's president proclaimed victory over the Tamil Tigers on Tuesday after decades of civil war, with state television showing what it said was the corpse of rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.

The images were shown after the Tigers announced the guerrilla leader was still alive and well, and that they would continue fighting for a separate Tamil homeland despite President Mahinda Rajapakse's call to unite the nation.

Under international pressure to reach out to the Tamil minority, Rajapakse vowed in a nationally televised speech that "terrorism" had been defeated and that a political solution to the island's ethnic divisions would be found.

"We are a government that defeated terrorism at a time when others told us that it was not possible," the president said. "The writ of the state now runs across every inch of our territory."

With the end of a civil war that began when Prabhakaran founded the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 1972, Rajapakse stressed that their defeat did not mean subjugation for the country's Tamils.

"All should live with equal rights. They should live without any fear or doubt," he said. "Let us all be united."

His speech had been shadowed by a Tiger statement insisting that Prabhakaran was not dead.

"Our beloved leader is alive and safe. He will continue to lead the quest for dignity and freedom for the Tamil people," the rebels' international relations chief Selvarasa Pathmanathan said on the pro-rebel Tamilnet website.

Pathmanathan went on to accuse the government and military of "crimes against humanity," saying senior LTTE leaders had been shot dead after being invited to negotiate a surrender.

But the army chief, General Sarath Fonseka, responded by reaffirming that Prabhakaran had been shot dead on Monday, and state television showed footage of what it said was his body.

The images showed the upper section of a corpse which was dressed in camouflage fatigues. Part of the forehead was covered with a blue cloth, and the head was resting on a bloodstained newspaper.

The face was intact, with the eyes wide open, and bore a clear resemblance to the rebel leader, an AFP correspondent said.

The conflicting accounts of the Tiger leader's fate came after a dramatic day that effectively ended one of Asia's oldest and most brutal ethnic conflicts.

The army said its commandos overran the last sliver of Tiger-held territory, killing their remaining 300 fighters and decimating the rebel leadership.

More than 70,000 died in the long-running conflict, in everything from pitched battles to suicide attacks, bombings and assassinations.

But the Sri Lankan government's moment of triumph came at the cost of thousands of innocent lives, according to the United Nations.

The UN and human rights groups have partly blamed indiscriminate shelling by the military.

The European Union on Monday called for an independent enquiry into alleged human rights violations, while the Red Cross complained it was unable to reach the wounded in the northeastern conflict zone even after victory was declared.

UN relief agencies also said that access to some government-run camps housing tens of thousands of displaced civilians had been restricted in recent days and demanded that the camps be "demilitarised."

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was expected to visit Sri Lanka later in the week.

Sri Lankan authorities have repeatedly bridled at what they see as outside interference in their internal affairs, and Rajapakse made it clear Tuesday where he felt foreign efforts should be focused.

"What we need from the international community is not advice, but material help to carry out our reconstruction effort," he said.

"We have demonstrated that we can solve our problems and we will come up with a homegrown political solution."
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