Death stalks Mannar fishermen

[TamilNet, Saturday, 15 April 2000, 16:29 GMT]
The body of a young fisherman with gunshot wounds that was found floating in the sea between Nachchikudah and the isle of Iranathivu was buried by his relatives who identified the body as that of Chrishtie Cruz, 26, of Panangkattikottil, a coastal village near Mannar. Cruz had set out to sea on April 10.

A search party from his village set out yesterday in a fibre glass fishing boat with the permission of the Sri Lanka Navy to look for the missing youth in the seas off Mannar's northern coast.

The Panangkattikottil search party had met some fishermen near Iranathivu, an isle south of Jaffna, who had seen a body afloat off the coast of Nachchikudah, about 60 kilometers north of Mannar.

The body was found and was identified by the search party as that of Cruz. It was buried on the coast as it was highly decomposed.

The group that went looking for Cruz returned to the Mannar island around 5 p.m. yesterday and informed his family of his death and burial. Relatives of the young fisherman said that he may have inadvertently gone close to the seas off the Nachchikudah coast and hence been shot by the Sri Lanka navy.

The long coastline between Mannar island and Jaffna is controlled by the Liberation Tigers. The SLN says that the Sea Tigers have a naval facility on the Nachchikudah coast.

Mannar fishermen are forbidden by the SLN to ply their trade near or in these waters. Those who stray or go looking for better fishing grounds risk getting shot by SLN patrols in the northwestern maritime zone.

 

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