Sri Lanka braced for more war after top Tiger killed

Nov 4, 2007 (AFP) – The killing of a top Tamil Tiger rebel in a Sri Lankan government air raid is likely to strengthen hawks on both sides of the bitter ethnic divide and herald more violence on the troubled island, analysts say. The already dim hopes of salvaging a moribund peace process took another blow with Friday’s slaying of chief rebel negotiator S. P. Thamilselvan, said Sunanda Deshapriya, director at the Centre for Police Alternatives think-tank.

“If there was some glimmer of hope left it has vanished,” Deshapriya said.

He said both sides had already been intent on settling the conflict through war rather than negotiations, even before Friday’s air strike on the rebel-held north.

Thamilselvan, 40, was the public face of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the point man for Norwegian peace brokers and the rest of the international community who have been nudging the rebels to resume talks.

Tiger supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran immediately replaced Thamilselvan — seen as a relative moderate within a hardline force and the de facto number-two in the guerrilla ranks — with P. Nadesan, the head of the LTTE’s police.

Nadesan, a defector from Sri Lanka’s police, had also attended peace talk