Sri Lankan rebel’s arrest embarrasses govt

Nov 18, 2007 (AFP) – A Tamil guerrilla leader accused of involvement in war crimes is becoming a major embarrassment to Sri Lanka’s government following his arrest in Britain. Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, the leader of a breakaway faction of the Tamil Tigers rebel group, was detained in London earlier this month on a charge of entering the country under a false name.

Officials in Colombo are said to have helped the rebel, better known as “Colonel Karuna”, escape to London.

The warlord apparently feared he would be killed by his former comrades in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Karuna, who has consistently denied any wrongdoing, was the de facto number two of the ruthless Tamil Tigers — renowned for their use of suicide bombers and child fighters — before he defected in 2004.

Since then he has reportedly worked with Sri Lanka’s armed forces to drive out the Tamil Tigers from a large rebel enclave near the eastern lagoon town of Batticaloa, one of the biggest government successes of 2007.

“After Karuna broke away from the Tamil Tigers his armed group operated with the complicity of the Sri Lankan security forces,” the New York-based Hum