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Brigadier linked to Jaffna gangs appointed head of Sri Lanka's intelligence

A Sri Lankan brigadier who had been previously removed from a posting due to links with military-backed gangs causing unrest in Jaffna, has been appointed the head of State Intelligence Service (SIS) by Sri Lanka’s new president Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Brigadier Suresh Salley was Sri Lanka’s former Director of Military Intelligence (DMI) when a wave of unrest swept through the Jaffna peninsula in 2016, which authorities blamed on the ‘Aava gang’. Sri Lankan police had also shot dead two Tamil teenagers. 

Then Sri Lankan health minister Rajiva Senaratne said the military formed the ‘Aava gang’ when Rajapaksa was previously defence secretary. ”Some retired military officers and the former secretary Gotabhaya think they can use this Aava group to destabilise Jaffna and cause problems for the government," Senaratne said. "We are taking action to arrest all those involved.” At least two intelligence units were reportedly removed after his demotion.

Salley has also been accused of concealing evidence with regards to the murder of Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunge and cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda.