Sri Lankan forces step up security ahead of funeral


Mon, Nov 05, 2007 - Page 4

Sri Lankan security forces yesterday increased already tight security ahead of a funeral planned in rebel territory for a top Tamil Tiger leader killed in an air strike, officials said.

Checks at all entry points into Colombo were intensified and snap road blocks set up within the city of 650,000 people, a police spokesman said.

"We have similar arrangements in other parts of the country too," the spokesman said adding that they feared the Tigers could resort to attacks to avenge Friday's killing of their political boss, S.P. Thamilselvan.

The overall leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), as the Tamil Tigers are more formally known, vowed yesterday to step up their campaign for independence following the killing of his closest aide.

Velupillai Prabhakaran said he was determined to keep up the "liberation struggle" despite Friday's death of Thamilselvan, who headed the Tigers' political wing and was the public face of the separatist organization.

"Thamilselvan was close to me ever since he joined our freedom movement," Prabhakaran said. "I loved him deeply. I taught him as my own beloved younger brother."

The funeral will be held today. Prabhakaran named his police chief P. Nadesan as new leader of the LTTE's political wing.