Eight Tamil Tiger rebels escape from Sri Lanka jail
COLOMBO, June 4: Eight Tamil Tiger rebels escaped from a jail in Sri Lanka's restive east early today in what authorities suspect was an inside job, police said.
''This is the third or fourth time prisoners have escaped from this jail. It was definitely an inside job,'' said Nihal Karunaratna, Deputy Inspector of Police for the eastern districts of Batticaloa and Ampara.
''They escaped when they were taken for a wash in the morning.
The prison staff said the prisoners showed a grenade,'' he added.
''If our inquiry reveals prison people aided and abetted, they will be dealt with very severely and will be prosecuted.'' The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who run a de facto state in swathes of Sri Lanka's north and east, were not immediately available for comment. Relatively few of their fighters, who carry cyanide capsules around their necks to commit suicide to escape capture, are in Sri Lanka's prisons.
The prison break comes amid a surge in attacks and clashes between the rebels and the military that many analysts and diplomats fear could rekindle a two-decade civil war in which more than 64,000 people died.