The Sri Lankan military has been ordered to kill Velupillai Prabhakaran and finish off the LTTE once and for all, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse has disclosed.
This is perhaps for the first time in over a quarter century that an important Sri Lankan government functionary has openly admitted that the military has actually been ordered to kill the founder of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
The New York Times` New Delhi-based South Asia Correspondent Somini Sengupta has quoted Rajapakse as telling her in an interview late last month that the civil war-ravaged island-nation`s military is `under instructions to eliminate Prabhakaran and eradicate his organization once and for all.`
In a front page report, printed in the International Herald Tribune (IHT) today, Rajapakse told the award-winning reporter: `That`s our main aim, to destroy the leadership.` The job will take two to three years, Sengupta further quoted the president`s influential, and also controversial, brother as telling her.
Owned by the New York Times (NYT), the IHT is edited and published in Paris. It is also printed in 35 countries and circulated across the globe. Its Indian edition is printed in Secunderabad in Andhra Pradesh.
The NYT reporter adds grimly: `Pressure from abroad, including suspension of aid from countries like Britain and the United States, has done little to temper Sri Lankan military ambitions.`
In her Jaffna-datelined report, Sengupta says: `Jaffna is no stranger to war. Its temples and churches bear the pockmarks of battles past. Its people are familiar with running and dying. No other place is so scarred because no other places carries Jaffna`s special curse: it is the heart of the homeland that the Tamil Tigers have fought to carve out, and the trophy that soldiers and rebels have fought over all these years.`
She goes on: `Lately, a new fear stalks Jaffna, and it is more ominous than anything its people recall from their grim past: a spate of mysterious abductions usually carried out during curfew, when soldiers and stray dogs rule the streets. No one is quite sure who is being taken, for what reason, by whom. Sometimes, corpses turn up on the street. More often, they don`t turn up at all.`