SF wants army camps removed

Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka says military camps in the north must be removed.

Speaking to the Jaffna based Uthayan newspaper, Fonseka said that the military is involved in the civil administration in the north.

He said that the army should do only what the army does best and not get involved in civil administration.

During his victory day speech President Mahinda Rajapaksa rejected calls to close army bases in the former war zone.

Rajapaksa said reducing the military camps in the former war zone would be a risk to national security.

“There are many who shout that the security forces camps in these areas should be removed. They ask us why they are not removed,” he said, pointing out the north was under civilian, not military rule.

“We must ask if we are in a position to remove the armed forces camps in the north and reduce our attention to national security. That is not possible.”

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R. Sampanthan told the media this week that his party would continue to press for the removal of military camps in the former war-torn northern part of the country.

“The current ratio of security personnel in the north of the country is one soldier to every eight civilians. This is too much and we have highlighted the need to reduce the military presence to restore normalcy to this region,” he said.

Sri Lanka’s key commission on accountability appointed by the president, the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) has also recommended that military camps be removed from the north. (Colombo Gazette)