Police states that the 44 persons who were arrested in Aluthgama early this morning while having attempted to migrate to Australia illegally would be handed over to the Criminal Investigations Department for further processing.
Confessions by 4 individuals under police arrest have revealed their status as former LTTE cadres while one of the suspects is said to be a disabled individual.
The suspects were placed under arrest by officers at the Aluthgama-Kandevihara police post while they had been traveling in 3 vans bound for the Kaluwa-modara shoreline.
Among those placed under arrest are 5 women & 4 children.
The suspects are said to include residents from the area of Kilinochchi, Vavuniya, Jaffna & Mathale.
Meanwhile Australia’s Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor insists that the Sri Lankan asylum seekers who managed to reach Geraldton on a boat, and were later returned home, were not genuine refugees.
Of the 66 asylum seekers who reached the West Australian port last week, 38 were returned to Colombo yesterday.
O'Connor expressing his views to Sky News Autralia has added that the remaining 28 claimants would have their refugee claims assessed.
He denied that Australia was acting in an 'injudicious manner' in returning the failed Sri Lankan asylum seekers.