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14 November, 2008 - Published 13:39 GMT

TMVP president shot dead

The president of the breakaway Tamil Tiger's political party Kumarasamy Nandagopan known as Ragu, and his driver were killed by unidentified gunmen in the outskirts of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo.

Ragu, the president of the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP), was seen as a close confident of the chief minister of eastern province Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan (Pillayan) and was the secretary to the Chief Minister.

Chief Minister Pillayan, who visited the scene of the killing, told the BBC that people who don't want to see the functioning of the provincial government might have been behind this.

LTTE 'suspected'

"It looks like a well planned operation. But I am not able to put blame on a specific person. In Sri Lanka it will be very difficult to identify the person behind this," he said.

Police spokesman, SSP Ranjith Gunasekara told BBC Sandeshaya that police suspect the Tamil Tigers of carrying out the attack.

TMVP leader, Vinayagamurthy Muralitharan (Col. Karuna) now a government MP earlier told BBC Tamil service that he has no idea about who Ragu was.

The comment was made when Ragu criticised Karuna's statement saying police powers should not be devolved to the provincial councils.

Mr. Muralitharan earlier told BBC Sandeshaya that at least 11 TMVP members were killed by the LTTE within a month.

He had requested the security forces to strengthen security in the east to prevent future 'LTTE attacks', he said.