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Sunday, 25 July 2010

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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 well-trained soldiers.

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 construction.

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.

 

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