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Tamil Tiger 'leader' arrested in Thailand

  • Story Highlights
  • Selvarasa Padmanathan was"self-appointed leader Tamil Tigers"
  • Sri Lankan military defeated the Tamil Tigers this year
  • Tigers fought a 25-year war seeking an independent state for minority
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(CNN) -- A leader of the defeated Tamil Tiger rebel group has been arrested in Bangkok, Thailand, state television in Sri Lanka reported Thursday.

Selvarasa Padmanathan, also known as KP, was the "self-appointed ... leader and chief arms dealer" of the Tamil Tigers, according to Lankapuvath, the national news agency of Sri Lanka. It also reported the arrest, citing the Sri Lankan government information department.

The Sri Lankan military defeated the Tamil Tigers this year. The rebel group is formally known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. It fought a 25-year war seeking an independent state for minority Tamils in Sri Lanka. At least 70,000 were killed.

Remnants of the battered Tamil Tiger group decided in July that Padmanathan would "lead us into the next steps of our freedom struggle," according to a published account.

That happened after the Sri Lankan military killed the group's long-time leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, in the final days of a bloody offensive that ended the war.

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