Sri Lanka Navy detains vessel carrying relief aid for displaced

June 5th, 2009 - 12:55 am ICT by IANS  

Colombo, June 4 (DPA) The Sri Lanka navy Thursday detained a vessel reported to be carrying relief aid from Britain for displaced persons in the northern part of the country, a military spokesman said.
The vessel, Captain Ali, was placed under custody some 150 km west of the capital Colombo and is currently being guided under the escort of Navy warships to the harbour in the capital for further investigations, the spokesman said.

The ship is reported to have embarked from Britain, carrying items for the displaced who have already been rescued by the government forces and are living in refugee camps in the north, the spokesman said.

He said that the ship had 15 persons on board, including a member of the former Norwegian backed cease-fire monitors identified as Kristjan Guomundsson. He is reported to be the captain of the ship.

The collection of the aid took place few weeks back when fighting was still going on and Sri Lankan troops had cornered the rebels in the north-eastern part of the country where some 300,000 civilians were trapped. It was not clear as to why the ship had been delayed and was arriving after troops have taken full control the area.

Currently the displaced civilians are living under fully government-controlled areas guarded by the security forces. Relief aid cannot be distributed without the involvement of the state authorities.

Tamil rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were defeated on May 18 after security took full control of the area.

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