SLA’s 200,000 men could face any threat - Army chief
The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) with over 200,000 men is adequate to defend
all threats including any new terrorism threats, Army Commander Lt.
General Jagath Jayasuriya said.
The Army Chief told the Sunday Observer that there were no fresh
moves to increase SLA’s manpower as it already has over 203,000
The SLA’s manpower was increased manifold during the military
operations against the LTTE and new fighting divisions were established.
In the post conflict-era, the SLA is using its manpower in
development activities in the North and the East.
Meanwhile, the temporary military bases occupied by the SLA in the
North were vacated gradually with the resettlement of displaced
civilians. The Army installations set up in public and private buildings
in the North have been handed over to the owners.
During the final stages of the battle against LTTE terrorists, over
290,000 displaced civilians had sought refuge in welfare centres in
Vavuniya. With the completion of de-mining the number of displaced
civilians in welfare centres reduced to 37,000.
“Most of the public and private properties occupied by the Army have
been vacated in the districts of Kilinochchi, Mullaithivu and Jaffna.
Normalcy has been restored in those areas and displaced civilians are
being resettled”, he said stressing the need for SLA’s presence in those
areas to provide security for the resettled civilians and also to assist
development activities in the North. Construction work on the new
military base at Thunukkai has been completed and permanent bases in
Kilinochchi, Iranamadu, Mullaithivu and Periyamadu are under
Lt. Gen. Jayasuriya who opened the newly constructed 68 Division
headquarters at Puthukuduiruppu last week said the Security Forces
headquarters in Kilinochchi and Mullaithivu would serve as permanent
military bases in the North.
He said that the permanent military bases were set up only on State
lands and no private land was acquired.