Thirty-eight illegal Sri Lankan migrants who were arrested in Réunion Island of France have been repatriated to Sri Lanka last night.
The Navy said the group of Sri Lankans were apprehended on January 14 as they were attempting to migrate to the Réunion Island illegally via sea.
It was reported that a multiday fishing trawler had departed from the Negombo fisheries harbour on 01st December 2022 with 05 crew members. They reportedly then boarded 64 illegal migrants from Baththalangunduwa, Puttalam on 13th and 14th December.
Subsequently, the multiday fishing trawler had proceeded towards the Diego Garcia Island where they were apprehended and deported by the British Navy on 30th December. Thereupon, the human smugglers had cruised with the group of illegal immigrants to the French territory, Reunion Island where they were held by Authorities of the Réunion Island on 14th January, the Navy said.
Upon being produced to the Réunion Court the group of illegal immigrants were repatriated to Sri Lanka on Wednesday.
Among the apprehended persons were 33 males including 03 from the boat crew and 02 females who are over 18 years of age and 02 boys and 01 girl below 18 years. They have been identified as residents of Jaffna, Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Trincomalee, Batticaloa Puttalam, Negombo and Gampaha.
Meanwhile, the individuals have been handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department for onward legal proceedings.
It has been revealed that the smugglers in Kalpitiya and Kandy areas, who led this smuggling, charged an amount from Rs. 400,000 rupees to Rs. 1,000,000 from each person.
The Navy urged the public to avoid being victimized to such ploys and waste their hard-earned money because the French government does not entertain the illegal entry of people to the Réunion Island and such people will be immediately repatriated upon apprehension. (Darshana Sanjeewa Balasuriya)
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