Sri Lanka probes foreigners in refugee camps

June 4, 2009 (AFP) – Sri Lanka has identified six foreign nationals among tens of thousands of war displaced civilians held in state-run camps in the island’s north, a minister said Thursday. Three Australians and one each from Britain, the Netherlands and Norway had crossed over to government-held areas after escaping from the war zone in the island’s northeast after the defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels last month.

Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told AFP that the six foreigners of Sri Lankan origin will be screened for links with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The family of the British national, a woman identified as Danilvany Gnanakumar, has already got in touch with the British High Commission (embassy) in Colombo to secure her release.

Immigration officials said Gnanakumar had entered the country in February last year and had overstayed her six-month visa. She had crossed over to rebel areas and worked as a medic.

Samarasinghe said Gnanakumar violated immigration laws by overstaying and working in the country.

The status of the other five nationals was being investigated, immigration officials said.

Nearly 300,000 people sought shelt