Jaffna passengers' rough ride ends

[TamilNet, Friday, 30 October 1998, 18:07 GMT]
The Lanka Muditha, the merchant cargo ship that set sail this morning with 525 civilian passengers and a large number of soldiers, returned to the Kankesanthurai SL Navy base in Jaffna around 11 a.m. after a Naval convoy was attacked by the Sea Tigers this morning.

The passengers have been told by the SLA's civil affairs office that they may be able to travel tomorrow and if not, they would be brought back to Jaffna town.

But SL navy sources said that it is highly improbable that the ship could sail as promised.

Meanwhile, a special medical team was despatched to KKS to treat many passengers who have fallen ill, mainly as a result of boarding and disembarking the ship three times.

A senior Jaffna Kachcheri (secretariat) official said that the government should realise at least at this point that it is extremely improper to take soldiers along with civilian passengers aboard a merchant cargo vessel.

He said that the government should try to protect its soldiers by increasing the strength of the Naval escort but not by sending the troops among civilians in passenger ships.


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