Missing Manatkadu fishermen in SLN custody

Manatkadu protestors lay siege to SLA camp

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 24 August 2005, 15:50 GMT]
Protestors at Manatkadu in Vadamaradchi East threw stones and burning-tires on Sri Lanka Army (SLA) vehicles Wednesday night. Violent protests erupted in the area following reports that the two fishermen, who went missing on Sunday in the northern seas, and later said to be in the custody of the Sri Lanka Navy, were not handed over to their families Wednesday evening as promised by the Sri Lankan military officials. The protestors have laid siege to the 52-4 Brigade camp of the SLA at Manatkadu, villagers said. Tension prevails in the area.

The two Manatkadu fishermen, Mr. Sathyarooban, 25, and a father of a child Mr. Michaelpillai Regian, 20, who went for fishing in the northern sea were missing since Sunday.

According to the villagers, the Sri Lankan military officials Wednesday morning informed the families that the two fishermen were in the custody of the Sri Lanka Navy in Trincomalee, and that they would be handed over to the families in the evening.

But they were not returned, villagers complained.

Upon hearing the news, they blocked the main supply route to the Sri Lankan Army camp in the area and demanded immediate return of the fishermen.

Manatkadu, a tsunami ravaged coastal village, is located in SLA controlled Vadamardchi East.

Fisherman of Jaffna's Vadamaradchi region have been demanding that the SLA leave schools, villages and farm lands it has garrisioned and that the SLA should lift restrictions on fishing. SLA and fishermen have also been at loggerheads since the signing of ceasefire agreement in 2002 over digging and dredging mooring points.

The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) officials have appealed to the villagers, through the local organisations, to remailn calm and assured that they would secure the release of the fishermen, sources said.


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