Boats attacked in Jaffna Lagoon
[TamilNet, Friday, 29 January 1999, 14:16 GMT]
The Operational Head Quarters of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in a communiqué issued this afternoon that eleven Tigers had been killed in two separate confrontations in the Jaffna lagoon off Gurunagar.
Meanwhile, police reports from Jaffna said that a displaced civillian was killed and two others wounded when helicopter gunships fired on a boat carrying 13 displaced civilians in the lagoon.
The civilians had been travelling from Naachchikudah in the Kilinochchi district .
The MoD statement said that on the 28th of January, at around 10 p.m., MI24 ground attack helicopter gunships of the Sri Lankan Airforce had identified and attacked a number of LTTE boats. It further said that the LTTE retaliated with small arms causing slight damage to the air craft.
According to the MoD communiqué, the second incident occurred at 6.00 a.m. this morning when the gunships spotted LTTE boats in the same area and attacked them. The statement went on to say that LTTE transmissions monitored by the MoD confirmed that 11 Tigers were killed and two wounded in the attack.
Meanwhile the Jaffna police said that G. Aloshyas (41) was killed when the boat he was travelling in was attacked near Gurunagar by helicopter gunships at 5.45 a.m this morning. There were thirteen civilians in the boat all of whom were refugees displaced from Jaffna in October 1995. Two other civilians, S.Sivakumar (24) and R.Kanagammah (73) , were seriously wounded in the attack and have been admitted to Jaffna Hospital.
Some of the refugees who escaped unhurt said that the SLAF might have attacked other refugee boats that sailed towards Gurunagar last night.
Informed sources said that heavy shelling from the main firing bases of the SLA in Valikamam, that rocked Jaffna town last night, may have been connected to the detection of boats in the Jaffna lagoon near Gurunagar.
People displaced from Jaffna in October 1995 who want to return to Jaffna from the Vanni often use the route from Naachchikudah to Gurunagar through the Jaffna lagoon. At Gurunagar they are screened by Sri Lankan security personnel and then resettled in various refugee camps.