Cornered LTTE chief V Prabhakarn, who is still holed up in a small strip of land in embattled north, may flee from the island using a submarine, a top Sri Lankan army official said on Friday.
"Prabhakaran, who is present in the no-fire zone along with his son Charles Anthony, Tigers' intelligence chief Pottu Amman and Sea Tiger chief Soosai, might have retained a submarine to escape from the island," Brigadier Shavendra Desilva, the General-Officer-Commanding 58 Division, said.
"This was revealed by LTTE's former spokesman Daya Master, who surrendered to the army this week," Brigadier Desilva told a select group of reporters visiting LTTE's former political capital Killinochi in the embattled north.
"Prabhakaran is only supported by Amman and Soosai and other Tamil Tiger leaders will leave him if they will get an opportunity," Desilva quoted Master as saying.
Daya Master and George, a close aide of slain Tiger political wing head S P Thamilchelvan, gave themselves up to the army at Putumathalan in the no-fire zone on April 22.
A naval blockade was put around northern Mullaittivu close to the areas where LTTE cadres still had access to the sea. "613 LTTE militants were killed in the first week of April," he said.
Master told the army that though Prabhakaran says he would not leave the area, the Tamil Tigers' chief would run away at the first given opportunity.
Brig Desilva said army was very close to Prabhakaran but the LTTE leader fled just two days before troops captured the area where he was hiding in the no-fire zone on March 31. He said 15 soldiers have been killed and 75 others injured in the clashes with the Tigers in the last two days.
The army official said the military operation may slow down because 15,000 civilians are still under the LTTE control in no-fire zone. Govt has instructed soldiers not to use heavy gun because of the presence of civilians in the area, he added.