Navy fire kills 9 fishermen
[TamilNet, Monday, 30 November 1998, 10:50 GMT]
The nine fishermen who were reported missing early this morning after the Sri Lankan Navy (SLN) attacked a group of fishing boats in the sea off Mullaithivu, between Semmalai and Alampil were all migrant Sinhalese from the island's west coast said one of their colleagues who escaped the midsea carnage and swam ashore this afternoon.
He said that the Navy vessels had attacked their fishing boats before they could signal them (the SLN) that they were not Tamils.
The Sinhala fishermen were settled in coastal villages on the extreme south of the Mullaithivu district by the Sri Lankan army and Navy who also provide them protection.
Tamil political parties have raised strong objections against the army sponsored Sinhala settlements on the southern coast of Mullaithivu in traditional Tamil villages such as Kokkilai, Naayaaru and Kokkothoduvai since the late seventies.
Many of these SLA sponsored settlers who had left due to the fighting and insecurity in the area were taken back to their former dwellings recently by the government.
The matter was given much publicity in the state media as another achievement of the PA regime.
Most of these fishermen are from the western coast. The Navy is yet to officially respond to the allegation of the Sinhala fisherman who survived its attack this morning.
30.11.98 Tiger boats sunk - SLN