Tamil Tiger Rebels accuse Sri Lankan government

The Tamil Tiger rebels on Monday accused the Sri Lankan government of escalating violence in the island country by killing a senior rebel leader and pushing the country closer to a resumption of war.

Ramanan, the No. 2 Tamil Tiger leader and intelligence chief of eastern Sri Lanka, was killed Saturday amid spiraling violence that threatens to derail a shaky 2002 Norwegian-brokered truce between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Ramanan, who used just one name like many in the region, was the most senior Tiger leader to be "assassinated" since the signing of the cease-fire agreement, said senior rebel leader Seevaratnam Puleedevan.

The Tigers blamed the military for the killing and said it was an escalation in what they have called "a low intensity war." The military denied any involvement.

"Violence is getting worse," said Tiger spokesman Daya Master. The government is "escalating the violence during what is supposed to be a cease-fire," Master said.

While stopping short of outright threats of revenge, Puleedevan said the killing would "lead to an unpleasant situation."

"This is a very serious incident and it definitely creates a lot of tension," Puleedevan told The Associated Press by satellite phone from the rebel stronghold of Kilonochchi in the north. "This was definitely carried out by the Sri Lankan army and this will not help to promote the peace process."

The military, however, denied any involvement in the killing, reports the AP.

I.L.