Mannar fishermen feared lost, return to Vankalaipadu
[TamilNet, Monday, 19 June 2006, 16:11 GMT]
Thirteen fishermen reported missing while fishing in Mannar Sea with their boats on Saturday during a fire-fight between the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) returned to Vankalaipadu shore Monday evening, sources in Mannar said. Mr.V.Visuvalingam, Mannar Government Agent, Ms Stanley de Mel, Mannar Divisional Secretary, representatives of the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) and naval officers of the Vankalaipadu camp were present at the Vankalaipadu
shore when these fishermen arrived from Vidathaltivu located in LTTE controlled Manthai West division.
According to fisheries sources, these fishermen unable to return to the Vankalaipadu shore due to heavy fight between the LTEE and SLN had sought refuge in Vidathaltivu. Of them two went in one boat from Murugan Kovil area in Pesalai and other eleven in two boats from Vankalaipadu, sources said.
Manthai West Divisional Secretary later informed the civil authorities in Mannar by telephone about the plight of these fishermen. Thereafter the Mannar Government Agent made arrangement with the security forces and other related agencies to bring back these fishermen to Vankalaipadu by sea with
Accordingly, two fishermen were sent in a boat flying a flag Monday evening to escort the displaced from Vidathaltivu.
The returnees and their boats were subjected to examination by the soldiers of the SLN in the shore in the presence of GA, DS, and representatives of SLMM, ICRC and security establishment.
Later they were allowed to return to their homes, civil sources said.