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'From combatants to criminals'

Crimes by former and current members of the Sri Lankan security forces are on the increase, the Sunday times reports.

The paper details in its article several crimes committed, including the killing of MP Bharatha Lakshman and grease devil attacks in the Tamil homeland.

Extracts from the report:

"Investigations into recent crimes, have revealed a disturbing trend of the involvement of members of the armed forces who have deserted as well as those still serving.

"From the killing of MP Bharatha Lakshman, grease devils who instilled fear in elderly women, to the murder of a popular doctor in Karandeniya and other killings in Udawalawe and Homagama, those who were arrested were military deserters and soldiers.

Consultant Psychiatrist of the Sri Lanka Army, Dr. Neil J Fernando, told the Sunday Times that although the war was over the psychological trauma of the combatants needs to be addressed.

“Unlike the servicemen of World War I, World War II or the Vietnam War, Sri Lankan combatants were exposed to combat trauma for long years. Many have served 10-15 years in the operational areas and have witnessed and experienced gruesome realities. About 150,000 have been directly or indirectly exposed to traumatic combat stress,” he said.

War trauma can later result in criminal activities, domestic violence, suicides, homicides, alcohol and drug abuse, cruelty to children etc, he added. Dr. Fernando said depression, and adjustment disorders are common among soldiers.

“Some are low in spirit, unable to experience pleasure, look at life in a pessimistic way, suffer from low self image and suffer from loss of self-respect and guilt. These soldiers especially those who were engaged in direct combat are prone to suicide. But if this self-aggression created by guilt is directed outwards they are capable of committing homicide and can turn violent."

For full article please see here.

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