Monday, December 14, 2009

Rebels killed amid surrender: Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan troops shot dead surrendering Tamil Tiger leaders on the orders of the defence secretary, the former chief of the army who is now running for president said in remarks published on Sunday.

Sarath Fonseka said Gotabhaya Rajapakse, brother of the current president, instructed soldiers not to take rebel prisoners in the days before the Tamil separatists were defeated in May after decades of bloody ethnic conflict.

"Gotabhaya Rajapakse spoke with Brigadier Shavendra Silva, commander of the army's 58th division, giving orders not to accommodate any LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) leaders attempting to surrender and that they must all be killed," Fonseka said.

He told the privately run Sunday Leader newspaper that senior Tamil Tigers had used foreign mediators to organise a plan in which they would carry white flags and give themselves up to the army.

Fonseka led the army's successful offensive but later fell out with President Mahinda Rajapakse and defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse.

He resigned last month, accusing the government of sidelining him, and is now attempting to unseat President Rajapakse in elections on January 26.

The government has previously denied ordering troops to kill Tamil Tiger political wing leader B. Nadesan, senior rebel S. Puleedevan and another Tiger official and their families. Fonseka made no mention of the leaders' families.

Sri Lankan authorities have resisted international calls for a war crimes investigation amid allegations by the United Nations that more than 7,000 civilians were killed during the first four months of this year alone.

The government's military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara declined to comment on Fonseka's remarks.

"This is a comment given by General Fonseka and he will come out with many more," Nanayakkara said. "We will not comment on what he says."

The military claimed victory over the LTTE on May 18 after wiping out the leadership of the once-powerful movement, which began its armed struggle in 1972.

© The Age

Related Links:
Sri Lanka Top EX Army General accepts War Crimes - CNN
'Lankan army killed surrendering LTTE leaders' -
Lanka Army killed surrendering LTTE militants: Ex-General - The Times of India

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