14 Tamil refugees intercepted
[TamilNet, Saturday, 19 December 1998, 14:16 GMT]
Sources in Mannar said that the Sri Lankan Navy (SLN) has arrested 14 Tamil refugees in the seas of Thalaimannar on Thursday, December 17, when they tried to cross over to the neighbouring India.
The SLN handed over them to the Sri Lankan Army in Mannar who are interrogating them, said police sources.
The refugees had said in the interrogation that they could not bear the hardships of the war and had decided to flee to India where they have relatives, said the sources.
Tens of thousands of Tamils have sought refuge in India from the fighting on the island.
The earliest refugees to attempt the dangerous crossing did so following the anti-Tamil pogroms of 1983.
In the past few years, people fleeing the island have often be intercepted by the SLN and brought back to the island. There have been several instances in which refugee vessels have sunk and hundreds of people have been killed.