Article published on the 2009-05-19 Latest update 2009-05-19 10:34 TU
A photograph released by the Sri Lankan military shows what the army says is the body of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran
(Photo: Reuters/Sri Lankan government handout)
Footage on state television showed a body resembling Prabhakaran, while army chief General Sarath Fonseka repeated claims that the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had been shot dead on Monday.
But LTTE International Relations chief Selvarasa Pathmnathan declared on the Tamilnet website that "our beloved leader Velupillai Pirapaharan [Prabhakaran] is alive and safe" and accused the military of murdering two leaders of the movement's political wing.
Rajapakse revelled in the government victory in a speech on Tuesday.
"We are a government that defeated terrorism at a time when others told us that it was not possible," he said. "The writ of the state now runs across every inch of our territory."
In a call for national unity, he promised equal rights to the Tamil minority .
"All should live with equal rights. They should live without any fear or doubt," he said. "Let us all be united."
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) says that the first displaced people have started returning to the area hit by the offensive. It also called on the government to allocate more land for emergency shelter, water and sanitation facilities for the estimated 265,000 people who fled the fighting over the last few months.Sri Lanka's neighbour, India, with its state of Tamil Nadu in the south of the country, said through its foreign ministry on Tuesday, that India wanted power devolved on the island, "so Sri Lankans of all communities, including the Tamils, can feel at home and lead lives of dignity of their own free will." A spokesman for the foreign ministry in New Delhi said that, "as conventional conflict in Sri Lanka comes to a close, this is the moment when the root causes of the conflict in Sri Lanka can be addressed."
Meanwhile, repercussions from the events were felt in London where Tamil protesters clashed with police who were trying to disperse a 2,500-strong rally outside parliament on Tuesday.
Timeline of the conflict
2009-05-17 15:21 TU
2009-05-16 14:18 TU