With the capture of four navy personnel by Sea Tigers last Thursday evening, the number of security forces personnel in LTTE captivity has gone up to six.
Navy headquarters said that the four men believed to be from two Fast Attack Craft (FACs) damaged during Thursday`s confrontation off Point Pedro, are in LTTE custody.
Sea Tigers blew up a locally built FAC during the confrontation. A military official said that the LTTE would try to swap the men with some of their members now in security forces custody.
According to army headquarters two soldiers fell to the enemy`s hands during confrontations at Vakarai in the second week of July and at Muhamalai in the second week of October.
According to the navy the Point Pedro battle erupted when FACs intercepted a flotilla of Sea Tiger craft which was launched from Thalaiadi on the Vadamaratchchy East coast. The Sea Tigers targeted a passenger ferry chartered by the Commissioner General of Essential Services (CGES). A senior military official said that Sea Tigers reached a point approximately ten nautical miles off land before they were beaten back. According to him the vessel carrying 308 Tamils were about 22 nautical miles away from the shore at that time.
At one point the attackers overwhelmed the navy. But the escort squadron had fought back. The squadron had rescued five sailors who jumped overboard from their FAC which were hit during the battle, the latest in a series of major confrontations in the eastern waters since the May 11 attempt to blow up a passenger vessel carrying over 700 off duty personnel.
Following the May 11 battle which left a FAC and scores of Sea Tiger vessel destroyed, the Nordic truce monitoring mission suspended naval monitoring.