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Sri Lanka Defence Ministry to strengthen intelligence

Sri Lanka's Ministry of Defence is to strengthen its intelligence apparatus in a restructuring move that will give its leadership more "authoritative status" to tackle 'security threats' including "separatism".

The secretary to the ministry explained in a statement that several steps were being taken following the state of emergency which was brought about by the Easter Sunday bombings. While the Sri Lankan government and officials have been fiercely criticised for failing to act on intelligence that the attacks would take place, several questions have also been raised about the links between the organisation responsible and senior Sri Lankan politicians including former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

"As a result of the [restructuring] process the Intelligence apparatus has been strengthened under the new Chief of Intelligence (CNI) with stringent measures taken to counter traditional & non-traditional national security threats," the secretary said, expanding that some of the threats referred to: "Terrorism, Separatism, Radicalization, Narcotics, Illegal Trades/Businesses, Social unrest."

While the Easter Sunday attacks were found to have been carried out by Islamist extremists, Tamils have been disproportionately affected by the emergency regulations which followed, including arrests of Tamil activists and several checkpoints restablished in the North-East.