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Gota says state armed some groups

2014 Jan 25

Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa says some groups were given arms by the government during the war for their own protection from the LTTE, but as the war ended those groups willingly returned the arms following a government request.
He said this while speaking at a function in the Eastern province where, during the war, there were allegations raised by human rights groups that the Government was working with two LTTE breakaway armed outfits, the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pullikal (TMVP) and the Karuna faction.

The TMVP and the Karuna faction had both been accused of abductions and murders in the East while they fought each other and the LTTE at the same time. The EPDP in the North was also accused of having illegal arms at the time.

The Ministry of Defence quoted Rajapaksa as saying that it was the duty of the people to preserve the hard won peace as the Government has been working hard over the past four years to make the situation normal especially in the Northern and Eastern provinces.

He also said that at the end of the war there were 300000 Internally Displaced Persons, about 12000 combatants and also a large area of the land to be demined but as of today most IDPs have been resettled and the demining process is almost complete. Further, irrigation systems, road networks and railway tracks have been restored and upgraded in the two provinces.

Rajapaksa also said that the government had removed all travel restrictions in the North and East while removing the number of road blocks in those areas. ‘We drastically reduced the military presence in the North and East except for a few areas where the security is of paramount concern’, he added.

He noted that the best way to solve problems is through dialogue and no external forces could solve Sri Lanka’s problems and their intervention would only make matters worse.

The Secretary said that some interested parties are out to tarnish the country’s image by undermining the peace and unity prevalent today. (Colombo Gazette)

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