SLA bars IDPs returning by sea
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 04 June 2002, 19:42 GMT]
The Sri Lanka army Tuesday refused to permit more than 32 fishermen and their families who came by sea from the Mullaithivu coast to land in Sakkottai, a fishing village near Pt. Pedro in Jaffna, from which they were displaced by the war in 1995. "The fishermen have come with their gear and other belongings to resettle in their village. It is too expensive for them to bring their boats, out board motors and fishing gear by road to Jaffna. They are stranded in mid sea with women and children because of the SLA is refusing to consider their plight", an official of the Federation of Fisheries Societies in Vadamaradchi told TamilNet.
The fishermen, displaced from the coastal villages of Sakkottai, Polikandy and Pt. Pedro town in 1995, came in 16 boats on Monday night. Eight boats returned to Mullaithivu around 11.30 this morning after waiting in mid sea for more than 15 hours. The people in the other boats are still waiting to see whether the army would relent and let them land in Sakkottai, TamilNet's Jaffna correspondent said.
Six families that came Sunday night landed in Sakkottai before the SLA could bar them. However, the military has ordered the fishermen not to fish in the sea.
The SLA insists that the fishermen from Jaffna who were displaced to the Mullaithivu coast should return by road. Fishermen say it is beyond their means to bring their boats, fishing gear and household goods by road through the SLA entry point to Jaffna in Muhamalai.