Surrendered officials denounce Tigers

April 29, 2009 (AFP) – Two prominent members of Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers who surrendered to government troops have made a televised denunciation of the rebels in a major propaganda coup for the island’s authorities. In a video posted late Tuesday on the Sri Lankan defence ministry’s website, the rebels’ one-time spokesman and another official accuse the Tigers of holding civilians hostage and killing those who try to escape.

“Every point from where people could move away from LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) areas were unfortunately manned by LTTE cadre,” said V.K. Pancharatnam, better known as George, a translator and aide to the Tigers’ late political leader S.P. Thamilselvan.

“People who tried to leave met with violence,” he said, referring to the Sri Lankan military offensive as a “humanitarian operation” — in line with the defence ministry’s portrayal of its blistering offensive.

Velayudam Dayanidi, who is better known as Daya Master and was the rebels’ spokesman, said he had been trying to escape from the LTTE for several years.

“When the LTTE broke away from the peace talks in 2006, I decided to break away since I believed in negotiations,” he said in the interview, repeating the th