London: Two eyewitnesses have supported allegations that the Sri Lankan Army executed two Tamil Tiger rebel leaders after they surrendered in the island’s civil war in 2009.
Last week, photographs of the 12-year-old son of the Tamil Tiger chief eating a snack after being captured by the Sri Lankan Army emerged.
Shortly afterwards, he was shot five times in the chest, probably at very close range according to a forensics expert.
The two new witnesses in what has become known as “the white flag incident” can testify they independently saw from different vantage points the Tamil Tiger leaders accepted into the custody of the Sri Lankan military and escorted from the front line, alive.
According to the Independent, their accounts cast fresh doubt on the Sri Lankan government’s claim that the rebels were killed by their own supporters and add to a growing body of evidence of war crimes allegedly committed by the Sri Lankan military during the conflict.
Pulidevan and Nadesan were two of the most senior rebels to surrender.
In the hours beforehand, they used satellite phones to send messages to diplomats, journalists and peace mediators to ensure top Sri Lankan officials, including the country’s President, knew of their intention to lay down their arms.
They had been assured that their surrender would be accepted if they raised a white flag.
However, the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry’s website lists Pulidevan and Nadesan as killed by troops of the 58th Division on May 18, 2009.
According to the paper, the “white flag” incident also involved approximately 40 other rebels believed to have negotiated surrender with the Sri Lankan government. None of them have been seen since.