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Sri Lankan army to patrol Jaffna in search and arrest crackdown - IGP

The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Pujith Jayasundare, who visited Jaffna in response to an attack on two police constables in Kokuvil on Sunday, said Sri Lanka's Army will help patrols and searches in the North-East.

The IGP, who was in Jaffna on Monday to brief the police forces on a new strategy involving search and arrest on suspicion to deal with recent attacks against police constables, said,  

“We are going to have the assistance of the STF and Armed Forces. We are going to start combined patrols and searches to find those responsible for the attack." 

"Until we arrest all perpetrators of the attacks on policemen this special patrol system will be implemented….The people must understand we are doing everything for the people here. It is all Sri Lankan people. There is no difference between the political alliances, races or religions or whatever. We all belong to the same country. Everybody has a right to live in peace. "

"We have to ensure that with the assistance of the STF and Armed forces. There’s a limit to the amount of patience we can have.”

Mr Jayasundara added that the new strategy had the support of the Sri Lankan President and Prime Minister. 

Stating that recent attacks on police constables in the North-East were a threat to the security of civilians, Mr Jayasundare said,

“We are in the process of patrolling, checking and arresting on suspicion, with the assistance of the Special Task Force STF." 

"We have given a lot of opportunities for the people without strict security on the people because we wanted them to have free opportunities to move. Therefore this attack has happened. We have to take some action." 

"We can’t allow these incidents to happen; we need a proper control over the situation and area. The idea is to ensure the security so that people can live in peace and harmony.”

Mr Jayasundare expressed concern at a recent alleged rise in gang operations,

“We need to improve the security in the Northern Province, especially in Jaffna. We will also confidentially identify all those that are involved in illicit things and gangs. We can’t allow for bad characters to have control of the area, and create a separate law and order.”

The IGP said the main suspect for the most recent attack on the police had been identified as a member of the Ava gang and a former LTTE cadre.

A situation brief produced by Jaffna Based think-tank Adayaalam Cenre for Policy Research (ACPR) last year, expressed concern over alleged links between the Aava gang and military intelligence. A rise in activity of the Aava gang was noticed at the end of 2016, despite most of the individuals linked to the gang having been arrested beforehand. 

"ACPR believes that the manner in which the Aava gang issue is being handled by the Government seeks to further strengthen the national security apparatus in the Tamil majority areas of Sri Lanka.  Either the Government is actively allowing the security apparatus to further this agenda of securitisation or lacks the political will to contain the security apparatus," said the think tank in November last year. 

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