Lankan naval craft sunk in LTTE attack
Colombo, May 11 (UNI) A Fast Attack Craft (FAC) of the Sri Lankan Navy sank when the LTTE's Sea Tiger wing mounted a major attack on the naval flotilla in the northern seas this evening, seriously endangering the ceasefire agreement, naval officials and Nordic truce monitors said.
The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), overseeing the truce over the past four years said the Tamil Tigers have seriously violated the four-year long truce "with sea movements and attacks on Sri Lankan Navy" while puting the Nordic monitors in "grave danger".
"The LTTE have committed gross violations of the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) in recent days by moving at sea with the aim of provoking the Sri Lankan navy and now finally embarking on an offensive operation against the navy sinking one vessel and putting SLMM monitors in grave danger," a SLMM statement said.
A top navy official confirmed the LTTE attack on the Navy off Point Pedro in the northern seas and said tfurther details were awaited, since the battle was still going on.
Ruling the sea surrounding Sri Lanka "is a government controlled area" and the LTTE has therefore no rights at sea, the SLMM said that "the LTTE has made, what the SLMM feels are threats to our monitors warning them not to participate in patrols in Navy vessels".
"The SLMM takes these threats very seriously and would like to remind the LTTE of its responsibility as an equal partner to the Ceasefire Agreement to do everything in its power not to jeopardise the monitors' safety," the statement said, urging the LTTE to cease immediately all activities and operations at sea. "This sort of reckless behaviour can only lead to a dangerous escalation resulting in growing hostilities and jeopardising any possibility for future peace talks. We would also like to urge the Government of Sri Lanka not to be pushed by these provocative acts and to show as much restraint as possible," he said. There was immediate reaction from the LTTE.
It was only yesterday that the visiting Japanese envoy, Yasushi Akashi expressed his concern over the glaring escalation of truce related violence and urged both the parties to contribute to their utmost to deescalate the spiraling violence and return to the negotiating table at the earliest.
UNI XC CH KN2101