Soldiers punished for abandoning their rescuers

[TamilNet, Saturday, 01 May 1999, 23:30 GMT]
Two soldiers at the Nagar Kovil SLA detachment on Jaffna's southeastern coast were punished today for perfidiously abandoning at midsea four youth who had come to their rescue.

On Thursday April 29, the SLA at Nagar Kovil sent two soldiers in a boat by sea with a load of concertina for constructing the outer defences of the newly established army camp at Maamunai, further south on the coast.

Their boat ran out of fuel on the way and was soon adrift towards deep sea, pulled by a current. The army on the coast had summoned four youth in the area upon seeing the calamity and had asked them to help the two panic stricken soldiers on the supply boat get back ashore.

The SLA had given these youth a boat fitted with a 25 Horsepower Out Board Motor (OBM) with a supply of fuel for the rescue operation.

But when the boys caught up with the drifting boat to tow it back to the coast, the two soldiers had seized the OBM and all the fuel of the rescue boat and gone their way, leaving behind the rescuers adrift at midsea.

Hours later, a Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) gunboat on patrol between Trincomalee and Kankesanthurai in Jaffna had spotted the rescue boat in the high seas, and assuming that the youth in it were Liberation Tigers, had arrested them.

The SLN had then scuttled the boat, sinking it in the deep seas. However, during the interrogation of the boys on the way to Jaffna, the SLN had found the truth, and soon set them free at Pt.Pedro.

The boys were given special identity documents to go back home. The matter was brought to the notice of SLA authorities and the two soldiers were punished today.


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