Colombo: The Tamil Tigers’ military intelligence chief was among 34 rebels killed in heavy fighting in northern Sri Lanka on 5 January 2008, the military and a pro-Tiger website said, amid signs the 25-year civil war was escalating.
Colonel Charles was killed in clashes in the northwestern district of Mannar, where fierce fighting has been focused for months, the military said on Sunday.
The LTTE had no immediate comment, but pro-rebel website www.tamilnet.com said Charles had been killed by a roadside bomb planted in Tiger territory by by an army deep penetration unit.
Colonel Charles, head of the LTTE intelligence wing
“It is confirmed that their military intelligence leader Charles was killed,” said military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara.
The death comes just days after President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government announced it was formally cancelling a tattered 2002 truce with the Tigers. Analysts expect this to lead to a bloody intensification of a conflict that has killed around 70,000 people since 1983.
Just weeks ago the leader of the Tigers’ political wing was killed in an air raid amid a declared government drive to annihilate the rebels militarily and overrun the de facto state they run in the island’s north.
Nordic ceasefire monitors are wrapping up their six-year mission after the government gave 14 days notice on 2 January 2008 that it was ending the ceasefire, which broke down on the ground almost as soon as Rajapaksa came to power in late 2005.
Well over 5,000 people have been killed since then in now near-daily air strikes, land and sea clashes and ambushes.
That means the gloves come fully off on 16 January.