Tigers accuse Sri Lanka army of killing top operative

May 22, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels on Monday accused government forces of killing a senior field commander in the island’s restive eastern region at the weekend, a pro-rebel website said. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said their chief intelligence operative in the region — identified as Ramanan — was gunned down by an army sniper on Sunday, Tamilnet.com reported.

“A Sri Lanka army sniper targetted the commander while he was inspecting the forward defence line positions of the Tigers in Vavunathivu, Batticaloa,” Tamilnet reported.

Rebel sources said Ramanan held the rank of a colonel in the guerrilla movement and had been sent to the eastern province to head its intelligence work following a split in the group in March 2004.

Government military officials denied security forces were involved in the attack and said they suspected that the breakaway Tiger faction led by V. Muralitharan, better known as Colonel Karuna, may have been responsible.

Ramanan is one of the highest-ranking Tamil Tiger operatives to be killed since the group entered into a truce with government forces in February 2002. Scandinavian truce monitors have said the ceasefire exists now only o