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15 July 2002

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The LTTE hold two Norwegian peace monitors aboard an LTTE vessel, who had come to look into an alleged ceasefire violation. Despite tensions and questions as to LTTE’s commitment to the peace process, the truce remains in place.

Tamil rebels detain truce monitors, BBC, 14 July 2002.

Extract from BBC article
“A statement issued by the SLMM describes how the incident occurred. Two trawlers belonging to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) entered Sri Lankan territorial waters in Palk Bay, south of the Jaffna peninsula, on Saturday evening. They were intercepted by the Sri Lankan navy, and one trawler fled the scene. The Sri Lankan Navy sought the advice and assistance of the naval SLMM monitors in Jaffna, who having obtained the full agreement of the Tamil Tiger political leadership in Kilinochi, went aboard the vessel.

According to the SLMM statement, the two monitors found communication equipment on board which was controlled by four rebel soldiers. The SLMM then suggested that the vessel be vacated and taken into the custody of the Sri Lankan navy as it was in violation of the terms of the peace agreement. This was rejected by the Tamil Tiger leadership. The four rebel soldiers refused to disembark, and started to move the vessel heading towards the Tamil Tiger-controlled coastal area. The statement says that at this time the two SLMM naval monitors were held against their will by the Tiger cadres, and physically hindered from leaving the trawler.

The vessel was then brought ashore in the early hours of Sunday morning and the monitors were released.”

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