London, Apr 26: Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) chief Vellupillai Prabhakaran will not surrender and fight till the death, despite being cornered by the Sri Lankan Army in a 10 sq. km patch, according to his former right hand man.
The Sri Lankan Government has urged Prabhakaran to surrender and end the fighting in which thousands of civilians have died. But most generals and officials privately say that only the death of the Tamil Tigers' leader will end the long war.
"Sri Lanka lost so many fighters and civilians and Prabhakaran is responsible for all this. I used to say to him, 'Why did you kill all those people?' He's a very horrible man. He has to be eliminated," The Sunday Telegraph quoted Colonel Karuna, as saying.
Colonel Karuna, who joined LTTE as a child soldier, rose to become Prabhakaran's number two before defecting to the government. He tore the movement apart when he left, taking with him around a third of the LTTE fighters, in 2006.
He also provided vital intelligence, which has helped the Lankan Army to bring the LTTE to their knees and was rewarded by being granted control of a large part of the island's east, which he has run ruthlessly as his own fiefdom.
He split from the Tigers because he feared assassination at the hands of Prabhakaran, who for years had any potential rival killed
Speaking at his heavily fortified headquarters in Colombo, Colonel Karuna said: "I am number one on the LTTE's hit list. Prabhakaran hates me."
The fighting between the LTTE and the Lankan Army has reached its final stages in the past few days and the government has described its strategy as "hostage rescue", although diplomats and aid workers have expressed grave fears for the safety of trapped civilians.
Reports have said that Prabhakaran's son, Charles Anthony, has escaped by submarine and it is possible that the leader may attempt the same.