The Sri Lankan Navy, acting on a tip-off from police, arrested four Tamil Tiger rebels who were allegedly gathering intelligence on the island's strategic port, police and officials said Monday. The four members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were arrested Saturday after police spotted their boat in the harbor at Trincomalee in northeastern Sri Lanka, said Defense Ministry spokesman, Brig. Nalin Witharanage.
He said security forces had delayed releasing the information because they wanted to be sure of the rebels' involvement.
"We now have confirmation that the four are members of the LTTE," Witharanage said.
Trincomalee, located on the country's northeast coast, is one of the sea lifelines of this island nation of 19 million people. The port is also used by a local subsidiary of India's state-owned Indian Oil Corp. to store its petroleum reserves.
While the port and town are under government control, the guerillas control the surrounding area, which they have for decades been fighting to turn into a separate state for ethnic Tamils.,informs the AP. I.L.