COLOMBO (NewsRadio); Authorities of the Réunion Island of France have repatriated 46 Sri Lankan nationals by air.
The Sri Lanka Navy said the group of Sri Lankans was apprehended as they were attempting to enter into the Réunion Island illegally by sea.
The Navy said the group of individuals set out aboard a multiday fishing trawler from Negombo on the 2nd of December 2022.
The group of individuals comprises 43 males including the crew of the multiday fishing vessel, two females and a child.
They were apprehended as they were attempting to illegally enter the Réunion Island of France on the 24th of December 2022.
They have been identified as residents of Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Mannar, Batticaloa, Chilaw and Negombo, aged between 13 and 53 years.
Meanwhile, the group of individuals will be handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department for further legal action.
The Navy added it has been revealed that a group of smugglers from Dehiwala, who led this operation, charged an amount from Rs.200,000 to Rs.4.5 million from each individual.
The Navy said the French government does not entertain the illegal entry of people to the Réunion Island and such people will be immediately repatriated upon apprehension.