The Sri Lankan navy reportedly detained 67 people who had attempted to flee the island by boat in Trincomalee on Monday.
According to an official navy report, “Fast Attack Craft P 483 and P 415 attached to the 4th Fast Attack Flotilla in the Eastern Naval Command were deployed in a search operation and the SLN units intercepted a suspicious local multiday fishing trawler in seas off Trincomalee”.
In total, 45 men, 7 women and 4 children were detained. The youngest child was just 3 years old.
The Sri Lankan navy went on to add that the detained had come from Jaffna, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Puttalam, Ampara, Ratnapura, Gampaha and Colombo.
Last week, a group of 40 people from Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Vavuniya, were arrested in a joint operation by Sri Lanka’s Special Task Force and navy, as they also attempted to flee the island.
Australian authorities also confirmed that they had sent back a group of asylum seekers to Sri Lanka last week, after their vessel was intercepted by Australian security forces.