JO MP alleges move to disband Army intelligence

A joint opposition MP alleges a move to disband the more than 7,000-member strong Army intelligence by claiming that such a unit is useless during a no-war situation.

The MP told Sri Lanka Mirror that a former top figure of the Army was going to make the request to the president, also by noting that the Army intelligence had been used for illegal activities by certain officials to serve the needs of politicians during the previous regime.

Several Army intelligence members have been arrested by the CID and remanded over their suspected involvement in activities outside the Army.

When contacted, a former senior Army official said the entire Army intelligence unit should not be blamed for the wrongs of a handful.

Court action yet to be filed

He noted that court action was yet to be filed against any of the Army intelligence personnel arrested on various charges and later released on bail.

The Army intelligence had played a key role against the LTTE and it had been expanded only after the war victory, he said.

The Army intelligence operated with nearly 4,000 personnel during the war with three units at Vavuniya, Jaffna and Minneriya.

At present, it has units in Trincomalee, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Colombo too.

No such move

Responding to our inquiries, a senior official at the President’s Office said there was no move to disband the Army intelligence unit.

The president well understands the key role the Army intelligence plays in matters of national security and will never agree to such a proposal, said the official.

He added however that taking legal action against any of its members accused of wrongdoing would help safeguard the Army’s dignity.

Procedure is wrong

Meanwhile, former minister Keheliya Rambukwella told the media in Colombo today (23) that there was a question with regard to the arrest of Army intelligence members over the murders and assaults of journalists.

He referred to the arrests made with regard to the assault on Keith Noyarh, and stressed the need to follow the due procedure, adding that if anyone in the Army responsible should be punished irrespective of position.

Rambukwella charged the arrests had been made under the PTA, and said the attack should be treated as an incident of assault only.

Answering a question, he said he was unaware then, and now, of who were behind these incidents.