Sri Lanka ar­rests top Tamil Tiger war­lord

The Myanmar Times - - World -

SRI Lankan po­lice ar­rested a top Tamil war­lord on cor­rup­tion charges nearly two years af­ter the de­feat of his main ally, for­mer pres­i­dent Mahinda Ra­japakse.

Po­lice said the Fi­nan­cial Crimes In­ves­ti­ga­tion Di­vi­sion ar­rested Vi­nayag­amoor­thy Mu­ralitha­ran, bet­ter known by his nom de guerre Karuna, for mis­ap­pro­pri­at­ing an un­spec­i­fied amount of state money and other as­sets.

The 50-year-old Karuna was num­ber two of the sep­a­ratist Lib­er­a­tion Tigers of Tamil Ee­lam (LTTE) when he led a break­away fac­tion and sided with the then-gov­ern­ment in 2004.

His dra­matic de­fec­tion weak­ened the sep­a­ratists who were known for their trade­mark sui­cide bomb­ings. The group was even­tu­ally crushed five years later in 2009.

Mr Ra­japakse, who was pres­i­dent at the time, re­warded Karuna with a se­nior po­si­tion in the rul­ing party as well as a ju­nior min­is­ter post which he held till the fall of the for­mer strong­man pres­i­dent in Jan­uary 2015 elec­tions.

Dur­ing his stint with the LTTE, Karuna was ac­cused but never pros­e­cuted for the killing of some 600 po­lice­men who sur­ren­dered to the rebels in 1990 just as a peace agree­ment was un­rav­el­ling.

The UN had ac­cused Karuna of re­cruit­ing child sol­diers and us­ing some of them as sui­cide bombers dur­ing the is­land’s decades-long Tamil sep­a­ratist war which claimed over 100,000 lives.

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