SLN attacks aimed at tightening food embargo, says Fisheries official

[TamilNet, Thursday, 26 July 2007, 00:02 GMT]
While the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) attacks fishing vessels blocking fishermen from fishing in the high seas, the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) was bombing fishermen fishing close to the shores along the A'lampil coast, charged the President of Mullaiththeevu Fisheries Co-operatives Federation, K. Kunasingharajah, Wednesday. "The targeted attacks against the fishermen have one motive, to deprive the livelihood of fisher folks and thereby deprive the much needed fish protein to the population in Vanni, already reeling under Colombo's food embargo," he said.

Six Isreali built Fast Attack Crafts (FACs) of the SLN chased the fishermen at two different locations along the Mullaiththeevu coast preventing them from fishing , the fishermen have complained to Mr. Kunasingharajah.

K. Kunasingharajah
K. Kunasingharajah, president of Mullaiththeevu Fisheries Co-operatives Federation
"Fishermen from A'lampil already avoid deep sea fishing following the threats from the Lankan navy. Now, the navy has begun threatening them not to engage in fishing at all, even along the coast," Kunasingharajah said.

The fishing boats that leave the dock are harassed by the Dvora gunboats.

On many occasions the fishermen had to swim for their lives, leaving behind the boats.

The SLN boats gave chase to the fishermen, firing shots from 2 nautical miles away the coast. From this distance, Dvora boats monitor the shore and provide directions to the Sri Lanka Air Force to attack the fishermen families engaged in fishing activities on the shore, the fisheries official said.

A 15-year-old boy and a 51-year-old woman were killed on the spot and 11 civilians were wounded when their huts were attacked by a SLAF bomber that flew at low altitude two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, civil officials in Vanni have been complaining that the Government of Sri Lanka has limited the supplies to Vanni in the recent weeks.

On military front, confrontations along the entry points have been stepped up, mainly by the Sri Lanka Army, in the recent days.

NGO officials expressed fear of an impending humanitarian disaster, similar to that caused in Vaakarai region in the east last year by Sri Lankan forces blocking access to food while they engaged in a military offensive against the Tigers.

Although, the situation is different in Vanni, which survived a prolonged economic blockade during the Eelam War III, a number of children were affected by malnutrition, mainly due to the lack of protein, recalled the president of the fisheries co-operatives federation, stressing the urgent need to highlight the adverse consequences of Colombo's food embargo early.


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