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Sri Lankan Air Force use drone surveillance to enforce lockdown in Mullaitivu

The Sri Lankan Air Force and police are monitoring locals in Mullaitivu, using newly launched drone surveillance, as the area is in lockdown. 

The drone surveillance has been used to target locals in Puthukudiyiruppu, where a travel ban is currently in place. The Mullaitivu Air Force said it will extend its drone surveillance to other areas in the district soon.

Last year, the Sri Lankan military announced the establishment of a new 'Drone Regiment' which was to be deployed in parts of the island where the armed forces have been arresting those it claims have been breaking coronavirus lockdown regulations.

At the time of the announcement, Police Spokesperson DIG Ajith Rohana said the drones would monitor any “illegal movements” within the isolated areas.

The drone surveillance launched last week and led to the arrest of at least ten people in Jaffna, in the areas of Nallur, Kurunegala and Ariyalai. Jaffna police station’s Officer-in-charge, Prasad Fernando stated some were arrested for “standing on the road without wearing helmets” and others for “violating traffic restrictions."

The surveillance equipment comes as the militarisation of the North-East deepens under the guise of coronavirus. 

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