SLMM and SLN must bear responsibility for loss of lives - LTTE
[TamilNet, Saturday, 08 February 2003, 04:18 GMT]
Failure of Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) to handle the incident in a fair and responsible manner, and the provocative, belligerent conduct of the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) have resulted in three of our cadres taking their own lives, said Voice of Tigers (VoT) in its nightly broadcast Friday.
Extracts of a press release from political section of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) regarding Nedunthivu seas incident where three sea tigers took their own lives, as summarized in the VoT broadcast follow:
"Our trawler which was engaged in fishing near Nachchikuda early morning 6 February developed engine trouble and was disabled North of Nedunthivu. On being notified of this, one of our fast boats set out to help the trawler, and around 11 am started towing the trawler towards Nachchikuda.
On observing an SLN Dvora approaching the boats, the sea-tiger crew of the fast-boat removed the light machine gun fixed to the boat to assume a non-combative posture, left the gun in the trawler and motored near the Dvora to explain the situation. Our fast boat then proceeded to tow the trawler.
Again, at 3 pm the SLN's Dvora returned to the scene with members of the SLMM and insisted that they be allowed to examine the trawler. The sea-tigers allowed only the SLMM members to inspect the disabled trawler.
SLMM members continued to inspect the trawler and declared that there were no arms or military equipments in the trawler. However, SLN still refused to allow the trawler to be towed. The Jaffna based SLMM members then assured the Political division of the LTTE in Kilinochchi that they will undertake to bring the trawler to the shore after discussing with the Sri Lanka naval authorities, and requested the fast boat and its sea tiger crew to return to the shore. Since the fast boat was not allowed near the trawler, the light machine gun was left in the trawler as the fast boat returned to its base.
The disabled trawler stayed anchored in the same position when the SLMM returned again on 7th morning. SLMM on another inspection of the trawler noticed the 23 mm type light machine gun and the trawler crew explained the circumstances. SLMM accepted the explanation; even the SLN knew that the machine gun is the type that is mounted on our fast boats.
The heavy rain around 8.30 am on the 7th, meanwhile, appeared to have cut-off the communication between the trawler and the ground.
When our fast boat again tried to return to the scene to tow the boat, SLMM again assured our Political Headquarters in Kilinochchi that they would not allow the SLN to tow the trawler to Kurikadduvan and that they would take the responsibility to safely bring our three cadres and the trawler back to the sea tigers. The fast boat was asked to return to the shore by the sea tiger leaders on trusting SLMM officials assurances.
With communication with the trawler cut-off only the SLMM was privy to what transpired after 8.30 am.
At 1.30pm, SLMM officials informed the Kilinochchi political head quarters that around 12.45pm the LTTE cadre crew of the trawler had set fire to the trawler and had killed themselves.
SLMM was fully aware that the trawler crew had threatened to kill themselves if they were forcefully taken to Kurikattuvan."
08.02.03 Jaffna mourns fallen sea tigers
07.02.03 Three sea tigers die in boat blast