LTTE Names Pathmanathan as Prabhakaran’s Successor

Down and out: after a serious defeat they suffered at the hands of the Sri Lankan troops, Tiger rebels have voted in Selvarasa Pathmanathan alias KP as their new chief. Pathmanathnan, who takes over from Velupillai Prabhakaran, faces accusations of running a massive arms smuggling operation on behalf of the rebels.

The move comes some two months after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were crushed by government forces, in what was termed as a ‘decisive war’ against the two-and-a-half decade movement for a separate Tamil homeland.

Tamil demand for a homeland – Eelam – was spurred by the economic, social, political and cultural persecution; they claim to have suffered at the hands of Sri Lanka’s majority Sinhalese.

The new leader, however, has pledged to rebuild the LTTE as a nonviolent separatist movement, said the Associated Press in a report.

Unmoved by the change in stance, the Sri Lankan government has appealed to foreign governments to find and arrest Pathmanathan, a man they claim was responsible for running a huge weapon smuggling operation to arm the rebels.

Once in control across the island’s northern peninsula, the LTTE suffered critical blows in the final days of the battle, as government troops killed most of its senior leadership, including Prabhakaran.

Earlier this year, the Sri Lankan government declared that its forces had crushed the LTTE and ended the civil war that began in 1983, it continues to hold an estimated 10,000 rebels in custody.

Media reports suggest that support from Tamil expatriates may not be forthcoming for Pathmanathan, as they blame him for quickly acknowledging Prabhakaran’s death.

Long regarded as a rebel mouthpiece, the TamilNet Web site has refused to carry statements from Pathmanathan, added AP.

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