Tamil rebels make conflicting claims over Prabhakaran's death

Tamil rebels make conflicting claims over Prabhakaran's death

A day after Selvarasa Pathmanathan, the head of the department of international relations of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), issued a statement confirming Prabhakaran's death in fighting in northern Sri Lanka last Monday, another powerful group within the rebel movement contradicted the claim.

The intelligence department of the rebels told the pro-rebel TamilNet website that the LTTE leadership was safe and would re-emerge when the right time comes.

The department for diaspora affairs of the LTTE said it would not comment without explicit authorisation from the LTTE leadership on the reported death, the TamilNet website said.

Other pro-rebel Tamil language websites also have refrained from carrying any statement by Pathmanathan.

However, in a statement Pathmanathan said that Prabhakaran had attained martyrdom and that they have declared a week of mourning.

His statement also called on Tamils worldwide to "restrain from harmful acts to themselves or anyone else in this hour of extreme grief".

Reports from various parts of the world with Tamil communities indicate that no mass mournings have been organised.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan government has said it had retained some specimens of Prabhakaran's body to carry out a DNA test if necessary.

Defence spokesperson Keheliya Rambukwella said the government is prepared to conduct a DNA test but the defence establishment has no doubts that he is dead.

Prabhakaran's body has been cremated and the ashes thrown into the sea.

Earlier the government released pictures of Prabhakaran's body after he was reported to have been killed in a gun battle May 17 in northern Sri Lanka. The military crushed the rebels and declared victory, ending a conflict lasting over 25 years.

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