Mannar Police releases four fishermen, detains three

[TamilNet, Friday, 23 December 2005, 07:21 GMT]
Three internally displaced fishermen from Jaffna district, arrested by the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN), while being engaged in fishing in Pallimunai in Mannar area, are still being detained in the Mannar police station for further investigation regarding the firefight that took place between the Sri Lanka Navy and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Thursday morning. They are among the seven arrested by the SLN following the firefight. The other four fishermen including two students who are residents of Pallimunai were released Thursday night around 11:30 p.m. to the relatives in the presence of Mannar Parish Priest Rev.F.A.Gnanapiragasam.

Mannar Police sources said the three fishermen under detention would be produced in magistrate's court after the completion of the investigation.

Meanwhile about forty fishermen in eight boats who had been staying in the sea overnight due to fear following the firefight returned to the Pallimunai seashore Friday morning. They were subjected to intensive interrogation by the SLN on their return and were released after about two hours following representation made by Mannar Bishop that they were innocent civilians. Monitors of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) were present at the site when they were allowed to go free, civil sources said.

Monitors of the SLMM Friday morning left with the SLN officials in boat from Pallimunai to view the spot where the firefight between the SLN and LTTE took place Thursday morning, sources said.

In the meantime, normalcy returned in Mannar town, amid tightened security.

Superintendent of Police Mr.Lakshman Wijeratne and Sri Lanka Army official Mr.Upali Edirisinghe, both from Vavuniya visited Mannar area on special assignment to restore normalcy in the area, sources said.

Both security officials assured the Mannar Bishop and the Citizen Committee officials during a discussion that they would take all precautions to ensure safety to civilians, sources said.


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