Monday, May 18, 2009

Tamil Tiger leader 'killed' by Sri Lanka troops

COLOMBO (AFP) – The leader of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels, Velupillai Prabhakaran, was shot dead Monday while trying to flee advancing troops, defence officials told AFP.

Prabhakaran was with several close aides in a small convoy of a van and ambulance which tried to drive out of the battle zone when it was ambushed by commandos, the senior defence ministry official said.

The news came as the military said that the entire island was now under government control, after decades of conflict with the rebels that left more than 70,000 people dead.

Prabhakaran was "killed with two others inside the vehicle. There will be a formal announcement later," the official said on condition he not be named.

The defence ministry said the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leadership was decimated, heralding an end to their long battle to carve out an independent ethnic homeland in the north of the island.

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