Sri Lanka seizes ship with supplies for war-hit civilians
The Sri Lankan navy on Thursday seized a foreign-owned ship loaded with medical, food and other supplies for war-hit civilians, saying the vessel had entered its territorial waters illegally.
The supplies, arranged by supporters of the Tamil rebel cause, were loaded onto a ship in the English port of Ipswich in April -- just weeks before the government declared victory in the ethnic conflict, a navy spokesman said. "We have seized the vessel and we are bringing it ashore now," Captain DK Dassanayake said, adding the crew offered no resistance when the navy boarded the vessel 140 kilometres west of Sri Lanka.
The ship, the Captain Ali, was carrying hundreds of tonnes of food, medicine and other supplies for Tamil civilians caught up in the decades-long conflict, he said. A London-based group called Mercy Mission to Wani had arranged the transport of the supplies at a time when Tamil Tiger rebels were cornered in a strip of coastline in the island's northeast and using tens of thousands of civilians as cover. Wani had formed part of the Tigers' virtual mini-state in the island's northeast before the end of the conflict.
So the ship was actually aid for the LTTE. Sounds like it just became spoils of war.
Separately, Sri Lanka has identified six foreign nationals among tens of thousands of war displaced civilians held in state-run camps in the island's north, a minister said on Thursday. Three Australians and one each from Britain, the Netherlands and Norway had crossed over to government-held areas after escaping from the war zone in the island's northeast after the defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels last month. Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told AFP that the six foreigners of Sri Lankan origin would be screened for links with the LTTE.
Posted by: Fred 2009-06-05