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LTTE: renegade commander moving to "dangerous corner"

LTTE admitted for the first time that V. Muralitharan, who broke away last week had fighters loyal to him.

india Updated: Mar 17, 2004 19:06 IST

Acknowledging that the renegade regional commander had fighters under his command, the LTTE today said the breakaway faction leader was pushing himself to a "dangerous corner" by refusing to step down, but vowed it will resolve the issue without a bloodbath.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) admitted for the first time that the commander for Batticaloa and Ampara districts, V. Muralitharan, who broke away last week had fighters loyal to him.

Earlier, the LTTE's main leadership based in the island's northern Wanni region maintained that Muralitharan, better known as Karuna was acting alone and had no support among Tiger guerrillas.

"Cadres under Karuna's command are distancing and deserting him gradually," LTTE's northern-based political wing leader S. P. Thamilselvan was quoted as saying in the pro-rebel website.

"Karuna is increasingly facing danger from among his own group of cadres."

However, Thamilselvan said they were taking steps to bring the districts of Batticaloa and Ampara back into their control "without any bloodshed or danger to our cadres."

"Karuna not only has been relieved of his responsibilities, he has been removed from the movement," Thamilselvan said. "By rejecting to abide by the movement's ruling he is pushing himself into a dangerous corner."

He said Norway as peace broker has decided not to have any contact with Karuna's faction which called for a separate ceasefire accord with the Sri Lankan government.

First Published: Mar 12, 2004 17:59 IST