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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 January, 2005, 17:58 GMT
Tiger leader in rare appearance
Velupillai Prabhakaran at the meeting on Monday
Mr Prabhakaran said he was 'shocked' by tsunami destruction
The leader of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels, Velupillai Prabhakaran, has made a rare public appearance.

The pro-Tiger TamilNet website said that he praised disaster management planners at the northern town of Kilinochchi on Monday.

Rumours have abounded in the Sri Lankan media that Mr Prabhakaran may have been killed in the tsunami.

He has also been criticised for not taking a high profile in the relief effort in Tiger controlled areas.

"Let this disaster not turn our people into a community dependent on relief aid, and I request you in earnest to formulate plans that would provide them with the impetus to build a future of their own," Mr Prabhakaran was quoted as saying.

The Tiger's leader said he was "shocked" by the scale of the devastation, and that efforts needed to be made to protect children who have been "psychologically scarred" by the disaster.

The state run Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation last week reported that Mr Prabhakaran was killed by the tsunami.

He was also criticised by the Sri Lankan press for not being at the forefront of efforts to alleviate human suffering as a result of the disaster.

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