Sri Lanka frees 300 Indian trawlers

July 3rd, 2008 - 5:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, July 3 (IANS) Sri Lanka has released all the 300-odd Indian fishing trawlers the navy seized while allegedly poaching in the island’s territorial waters, after hours of through investigation. Navy spokesman Commander D.K.P. Dassanayake said that the 300 trawlers were sailing towards Tamil Tigers-held Vidattaltivu area in north-western Mannar district when they were spotted and surrounded by the naval craft on routine patrol Wednesday afternoon.

“The Indian trawlers were surrounded by naval craft between Delft and Thalaimannar islands and taken into custody. After investigation we released 299 trawlers by 10 in the night while the remaining one trawler was also released Thursday morning,” Commander Dassanayake told IANS.

“We found no suspicious items in their possession,” he said, pointing out that the issue of Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lanka’s territorial waters was posing a huge threat to the country’s security.

Meanwhile, the defence ministry claimed that at least 24 guerrillas of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and two soldiers were killed and 60 more wounded on both sides in fighting ahead of the Wanni and northern battlefronts Tuesday.

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