No LTTE cardre that surrendered to the Security Forces during the final stage of the humanitarian mission went missing, Defence and Urban Development Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said.
Commenting on allegations levelled by certain foreign elements that some of the LTTE fighters that surrendered to the Security Forces during the last phase of the humanitarian mission had gone missing, the Defence Secretary said all allegations are baseless and every since LTTEer who surrendered was rehabilitated and reintegrated to society.
The Defence Secretary was addressing media at the Defence Ministry yesterday. Recommendations of the Sri Lanka Army report as prescribed in the National Action Plan were handed over to the Defence Secretary by Army Commander Lt. General Jagath Jayasuriya. The recommendations were made by a six member board of Army officers appointed by the Army Commander.
The Defence Secretary said when the three-decade long war ended in May 2009, around 11,800 LTTE cadres surrendered to the Security Forces. All surrendees underwent a proper rehabilitation programme under the guidance of the Defence Ministry. After the successful rehabilitation programme, all surrendees were reintegrated to society. Prior to the reintegration, those who surrendered received vocational training during their rehabilitation to learn skills that could find them employment once they are reintegrated into society, the Secretary said.
He further added, of the over 11,600 former rebel cadres that surrendered to the military at the end of war in 2009, almost all have been reintegrated into society and are playing a fruitful role in society. The Sri Lanka military forces are highly professional and well disciplined.
“No war can be won without professional and disciplined military forces. During the humanitarian mission, we fought professionally and in a disciplined manner. No unprofessional army has ever won a battle anywhere in the world. We have proved that the the humanitarian mission was carried out by a highly professional and disciplined force” Secretary Rajapaksa noted.
He said after the humanitarian mission, the forces are immensely engaged in bringing normalcy to the war affected areas. Over 75 percentage of the de-mining activities were carried out by the Security Forces. Displaced persons have been settled even in the area where final battle was fought.
Speaking further on rehabilitation, the secretary said as an index how successful the rehabilitation and reintegrated process had been, the Security Forces were now engaged in assisting the war affected to resume their normal lifestyle. Accordingly, the Security Forces are in the process of developing infrastructure and other facilities, including housing, health, farming, etc while wining harts and minds of the people.
Answering a question raised by a journalist, the Defence Secretary said security was the prime concern of the countery. All the troops cannot be vacated from the areas where terrorism once thrived.
The board has at the very outset observed that most of the recommendations made by the LLRC such as resettlement of IDPs, rehabilitation of ex LTTE cardres, disarming militant groups, de-mining etc have already been implemented. With regard to the presence of military bases in the North and East, the board observes that the government has an absolute right to maintain its armed forces anywhere in the country according to the country’s strategic and security needs. However, the board notes that military bases are located causing minimum inconvenience to the public and in the aftermath of the humanitarian operation, all high security zones and many lands previously occupied by the armed forces have been released to the public. Moreover, only lands that are vitally required for security purposes are to be retained and such lands legally acquired at the market value and in addition owners will be given alternative lands.
Dharma Sri Abeyratne