June 20, 2010 (AFP) – A senior leader of Sri Lanka’s defeated Tamil Tiger rebels has agreed to help the government in its post-war reconstruction efforts, a state-run newspaper reported Sunday. The UN estimates that up to 100,000 people were killed in Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict which began in the 1970s. The UN has also reported that at least 7,000 civilians were killed in the final few months of fighting. The Sunday Observer said Selvarasa Pathmanathan, formerly the chief arms smuggler for the rebels, had already been working to convince Tiger sympathisers abroad that the fight for an independent Tamil homeland was over.
Government troops defeated the Tamil Tigers in May last year after decades of bloody separatist warfare on the island.
“Pathmanathan told the Sunday Observer that several Tiger activists living abroad had now begun to understand the ground realities,” the paper said under the headline: “Tamil intellectuals, ex-militant sympathisers to assist the government.”
“The ex-Tiger stalwart said that there should not be room for petty differences and all must work towards stabilising the hard earned peace,” the paper said without quoting him directly.