Sri Lankan begins probe in to suicide sinking of gunboat

Mar.26 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s navy Sunday began a probe into a Tamil rebel attack on a gunboat that left eight sailors missing, presumed dead, military officials said. The defence ministry said the gunboat was blown out of the water as it approached a suspected Tamil Tiger trawler off the island’s northwestern coast on Saturday.

“There is a probe underway to establish how the gunboat was hit,” a defence official said.

“The initial report from the navy is that six Tigers on the trawler blasted themselves and the impact of that explosion sank the gunboat.”

The gunboat was on a mission to check gun running in the area, officials said.

The ministry said the sinking of the navy craft was a violation of a truce arranged by Sri Lanka’s peace broker Norway and lodged a complaint with the Scandinavian ceasefire monitors.

“The suicide-style explosion carried out by the crew of the trawler causing damage to a naval vessel and claiming the lives of navy personnel is a violation of the ceasefire,” the defence ministry said in a statement.

Eleven sailors were rescued by local fishermen.

In January, suspected Tamil Tiger rebels blew up a simila