Sri Lankan troops search for rebel leader 2009-01-17 12:23:50   Print

    COLOMBO, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lankan troops have launched a search to nab the Tamil Tiger rebels' leader Velupillai Prabakaran, the state radio said on Saturday.

    The Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation said that the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) leader was believed to be inside a 35 meter deep bunker in the district of Mullaithivu and the troops are after him.

    The Army has entered Mullaithivu district, the last bastion of the rebels since the capture of the entire northern Jaffna peninsula and the rebel outfit's former administrative capital of Kilinochchi early this month.

    Prabakaran, 55, has led an over three-decade-old separatist war with the government troops to set up a separate homeland for the minority Tamil community in the northern and eastern parts of the country.

    With the Sri Lankan troops' war against terror which began in 2006, the LTTE leader has now lost almost 95 percent of the territory controlled by his outfit.

    Although it is widely believed that he may escape through the sea route to a foreign land, the Sri Lankan Navy said its tight cordon in the northern and eastern seas would see to it that Prabakaran won't be able to escape.

    Prabakaran is wanted in India for the 1991 murder of its former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The Indian government has been renewing its extradition request ever since he was convicted by New Delhi.

    Sri Lanka's own judiciary has sentenced Prabakaran for a 200 year jail term for carrying out the 1996 bombing of the Sri Lanka Central Bank in the capital Colombo.

    Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse said last year that if nabbed, the LTTE leader would be handed over to the Indian authorities. 

Editor: Wang Yan
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