Nine killed in Sri Lanka boat attack: navy

Feb 22, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s navy sank two suspected Tamil Tiger boats off the island’s north-western coast Thursday, killing at least nine people, a military official said. Navy craft attacked the suspected rebel boats off the coast of Puttalam district, a navy spokesman said.

“There were six men in one boat and three in the other,” he said, adding that both craft went down with the crew. There were no casualties among sailors.

There was no immediate reaction from the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE), but the pro-rebel Tamilnet.com website said eight fishermen were reported missing in the same area.

“Eight fishermen who left from Kalpity for fishing in their boats Wednesday evening are reported missing,” the website said.

“Relatives of the missing fishermen have made complaints to the Kalpity police (in Puttalam district).” The report came on the eve of the fifth anniversary of a truce between troops and Tamil Tiger rebels. Despite the ceasefire, there has been an escalation of violence in the past year claiming nearly 4,000 lives.