News Lanka Army killed surrendering LTTE militants: Ex-General

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Lanka Army killed surrendering LTTE militants: Ex-General

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan forces eliminated surrendering Tiger leaders on the orders of the defence secretary who had instructed that "all LTTE leaders must be killed", ex-army chief Gen Sarath Fonseka has claimed, prompting the government to describe it as a "great betrayal". In an explosive interview to The Sunday Leader, Gen Fonseka, opposition Presidential candidate, said no information was communicated to him in the final days of the war that three key LTTE leaders -- Nadesan, Pulidevan and Ramesh -- had opted to surrender.
Fonseka said that communications were instead confined between the LTTE leaders, Norway, various foreign parties, Basil Rajapaksa, Member of Parliament and the powerful senior adviser to the President and such information was never conveyed to him as he supervised the final stages of the war.

"Later, I learnt that Basil had conveyed this information to Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa - who in turn spoke with Brigadier Shavendra Silva, Commander of the Army's 58th Division, giving orders not to accommodate any LTTE leaders attempting surrender and that 'they must all be killed'," he said.

Fonseka's remark drew sharp reaction from the government which described it as a "great betrayal"

Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, who addressed an urgently called media briefing, said Fonseka owes an explanation on his charges as it would tantamount to speaking against the army which had a clean record.

Samarasinghe, who along with two other ministers attended the media briefing, said this contradicted Fonseka's own statement on July 10 where, among other things, he said he was being restrained from taking action against the LTTE.

Fonseka, who resigned last month accusing the government of sidelining him, said it was President's advisor Basil Rajapaksa together with Gothabaya Rajapaksa who through foreign intermediaries conveyed a message to the LTTE leaders who wished to surrender to walk out carrying a piece of white cloth.

"It was their idea," he said, adding sometime between midnight on May 17 and the early hours of the next morning, the three men and their family members were shot dead. The government later claimed that troops found bodies of three key LTTE leaders identified as Balasingham Nadesan, political head of LTTE, Seevaratnam Pulidevan, head of LTTE peace secretariat, and senior LTTE commander Ramesh during the mop-up operations on the morning of May 18, the paper said.

When asked whether the government would consider taking legal action against Fonseka for such an accusation, Mass Media and Information Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said, "We cannot answer that question. We will have to study the legal aspects and consult the legal books." Meanwhile, Presidential Advisor Basil refuted this "damning" charge. "The Norwegians never got in touch with me over this particular incident. I have been in touch with the Norwegians over various issues pertaining to the conflict but never once on this particular issue."

Fonseka, in the interview in the Lankan newspaper claimed that three LTTE leaders, Nadeshan, Pulidevan and Ramesh were shot dead in Wanni despite their desire to surrender. Fonseka charged that Gothabhaya instructed a key ground commander in the north to kill LTTE leaders and not allow them to surrender.
Challenging Fonseka's claim that three top leaders of LTTE were killed despite their willingness to surrender, the government today said many including the Tamil Tiger chief's parents were allowed to give themselves up despite the damage done by them to the country. Describing the retired army general's charges as part of the effort to destabilise the country, Samarasinghe told reporters that statement was made by Fonseka for political gains.

He pointed out that besides Prabhakaran's parents, four doctors and LTTE leaders Daya Master and Charles Master were allowed to surrendered when they carried the white flags. He said they were alive and being looked after well. "Hence, this allegation is done to discredit the government for political advantage with an ulterior motive", the minister said.

Samarasinghe claimed despite the elimination of the top leaders of the LTTE, attempts were being made to keep the outfit alive outside Sri Lanka.

Asked whether the Defence Secretary and Major General Silva would take legal action on such a serious allegation, Samarasinghe said he would not like to make comments on their behalf. "The matter is being studied at present to decide on the course of action", the minister said.

Speaking on the occasion, Environment Minister, Patali Champika Ranawaka said it was not only a betrayal by Fonseka but a damaging statement to the honour of the gallant armed forces who bravely fought the war.

Lanka Army killed surrendering LTTE militants: Ex-General - South Asia - World - The Times of India