LTTE attacks Sri Lanka supply boats

Navy says suicide boats targeted merchant ships supplying Jaffna peninsula.

    The government has let some aid agencies back into the war zone, despite an earlier ban [EPA] 

    It was unclear what condition the merchant ships were in following the attack.

    Ships attacked

    "One of the merchant vessels - MV Nimalawa - is sinking and the other vessel was damaged," an unnamed defence official was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.

    But later, Commander DKP Dassanayake, a navy spokesman, said the boats and their crew had survived the attack.

    "Two ships carrying humanitarian supplies to the north came under LTTE attack off Mailadi. Due to the nearby explosions, one ship got minor damage, but both are floating without casualties," he said.

    There was no independent confirmation of the incident, and the Tigers could not be reached for comment.

    The Jaffna peninsula, which was captured from the LTTE in 1995, is of major symbolic and strategic value to the Sri Lankan government as it is the birthplace of Velupillai Prabhakaran, the LTTE leader, and enables government troops to attack the rebels from the north and south.

    Besieged peninsula

    The UN says there are at least 230,000 people in northern Sri Lanka who have fled their homes since the military intensified its offensive against the LTTE.

    India, home to most of the world's Tamil population, last week increased pressure on Sri Lanka's government to make sure it is caring for the people.

    Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Sri Lankan president, insists that his government is supplying aid to the people of the region, even though it knows that some of the food is being taken by LTTE fighters. 

    The government has also allowed two UN-led food aid convoys in to the area, despite banning all aid agencies from the war zone last month.

    The LTTE has been at war with the government since 1983, fighting to create a separate homeland for Sri Lanka's minority Tamils.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.