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Sri Lanka army uses elections as cover to ramp up security in North-East

File photograph.

The Sri Lankan military has acknowledged the stepping up of security operations in both Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu, claiming that it is aimed at preventing “election violence”.

The Island reported that Sri Lanka’s “security forces claim that usually election-related violence is perpetrated by outsiders and thus a large number of people from other parts of the country might be transported to the two districts”. 

“This might lead to a spike in election violence,” it added.

The latest army claim comes as checkpoint and arrests have ramped up across the Tamil North-East, alongside the harassment of journalists and human rights defenders. The increase in intimidation came following the election of Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s former war crimes accused defence secretary, as president in November 2019.