Native Affairs reporter & cameraman on board seized flotilla

By Taroi Black

Māori Television reporter Ruwani Perera is on board a flotilla believed to have been seized by Israeli's defence forces in the Gaza strip. Perera is on the lead boat, the Marianne, with NZ cameraman Jacob Bryant.

The flotilla was carrying humanitarian aid into Gaza when it was intercepted by Israeli forces. Perera and Bryant were the only NZ media invited by KiaoraGaza to observe and document the peace mission.

Flotilla organisers lost contact with the boats just before 11am this morning as they neared the Gaza Strip near Israel. It is believed Israeli forces seized the vessels and their passengers.

The Israeli Embassy in Wellington won't comment but international media are reporting that 20 people have been detained.

Native Affairs boarded the flotilla in Sicily 10 days ago. They were later joined by international media from Al Jazeera, Israel and Russia.

In a statement to Aljazeera by the Israeli army said on Monday that it did not use force in redirecting the main boat Marianne to the Israeli city of Ashdod. 

Native Affairs producer Adrian Stevanon has been in regular contact with Ruwani since the flotilla left NZ almost 2 weeks ago but has not directly heard from her in the past 24 hours.