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Thursday, 2 May, 2002, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
Complaints flood Sri Lanka committee
Tamil Tiger rebels
Tensions are still high, despite the ceasefire
test hello test
By Frances Harrison
BBC correspondent in Colombo

The Scandinavian committee monitoring the ceasefire between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels says it has received 200 complaints from the authorities and the public.

These complaints are by no means alleged violations of the permanent ceasefire agreement the two sides signed in February.

In fact, the Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission said many had nothing to do with the ceasefire at all.

The commission, which has its headquarters in Colombo, said many of the 200 complaints concern the same incidents - duplicating each other.

Some concern purely criminal matters which do not come under the purview of the international monitoring team and at least 30 were unrelated to the ceasefire.


The monitoring mission said it was working on investigating the complaints, which is a time-consuming job, and have yet to establish if they really are violations.

Sri Lankan coastline
The east coast has seen several confrontations

The Sri Lankan military, meanwhile, has issued another statement about the unidentified boat it says exploded off the east coast on Wednesday as navy vessels closed in to investigate.

The navy now says there was one more trawler which escaped by sailing inland into shallow waters and then mingling with civilian fishing boats to prevent the navy firing.

The military says some Tamil Tiger rebel boats suddenly sprang up from among the civilian boats and opened fire on them.

The military says they returned fire but were unable to use heavy weapons because of the presence of civilians but nevertheless succeeded in destroying one rebel boat, although the trawler they were chasing escaped.

The Sri Lankan military says international monitors later visited the area with the navy, which found boxes of mortar shells and rocket-propelled grenades from the debris of the exploded boat.

Arms smuggling

More than 24 hours after the incident, there has been no statement from the Tamil Tigers as to their version of events.

Tamil Tiger rebel
The Tigers have yet to comment on the incident

It looks increasingly likely as if the navy stumbled upon rebel boats smuggling arms and the Tigers blew up their craft to avoid detection.

The ceasefire agreement between the two sides does not cover such incidents at sea but it would have been politically damaging for the Tigers to have been caught red handed by the navy.

Even as it is, the incident is causing concern and plays into the hands of the anti-peace lobby who believe the government has already made too many concessions to the Tigers.

See also:

01 May 02 | South Asia
Boat explodes off Sri Lanka coast
29 Apr 02 | South Asia
Tiger flight tests Sri Lanka truce
24 Apr 02 | South Asia
Sri Lankan navy 'intercepts Tigers'
25 Mar 02 | South Asia
Tamil rebel returns home
14 Mar 02 | South Asia
Sri Lanka PM visits troubled north
02 Jan 02 | South Asia
Sri Lanka eases Tamil embargo
22 Mar 02 | South Asia
Sri Lanka prepares ground for talks
25 Mar 02 | South Asia
Boost for Sri Lanka peace hopes
22 Feb 02 | South Asia
Ceasefire signed in Sri Lanka
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