• Government Removes Military From Former President Rajapaksa’s Security Detail

    The Government this morning removed a significant number of military personnel from former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s security detail and replaced them with police officers.

    What possible justification could there be for jeopardizing the security of the only leader who defeated terrorism in this country, particularly at a time when national security is threatened for the first time since 2009, in addition to the unbelievable increase in underworld crimes?!

    It is particularly surprising that this Government would take this decision even as former LTTE members have started agitating again. Consider just few of the recent developments:
    1. Just this past weekend, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe “revealed that the Government was inquiring into the possibility of those who had been taken into custody recently making an attempt to establish a new terrorist group” (Island, May 1).
    2. A couple of weeks ago, a suspicious man was found loitering around the former President’s new political office. He was handed over to the Police by Mr. Rajapaksa’s security team.
    3. In March, the Police discovered a suicide vest, claymore mines and explosives in Chavakachcheri.
    4. The number of murders, shootings and other underworld crimes during the past year are too many to list here.
    President Maithripala Sirisena had earlier stated that no other official is given military protection, and that is the reason for removing the military personnel from Mr. Rajapaksa’s security detail and replacing them with police officers. But what President Sirisena conveniently forgets is that there has only been one leader who has defeated and eliminated terrorism from this country. The military personnel in Mr. Rajapaksa’s security detail are highly trained and have provided security to Mr. Rajapaksa throughout the duration of his Presidency, much of it during the height of the war.

    By replacing highly-experienced security personnel of a war-time leader with lesser-experienced ones, the Government is sending a strong message. It is now abundantly clear that the motive of this Government is to put Mahinda Rajapaks’s life at risk, not protect it.