Sri Lanka military chief confirmed that it will not remove any military camps or reduce troops. “None of the military camps will be removed from where they are situated. We have fortified those camps,” said Army Commander Chrisantha de Silva.
Following an official visit to chief Buddhist prelates on Friday (24), Lieutenant General De Silva told journalists in Kandy that soldiers have been stationed from the north to the south of the country in a manner to ‘reinforce national security’. “We will not reduce any of those troops,” he said.
“This is definite, this is clear”, the army commander added.
High military to civilian ratio
Five out of the seven regional military commands in Sri Lanka are situated in the two pre-dominantly Tamil speaking provinces. Four of them are in the north while one is situated in the east. Two additional regional commands were established in 2012 and 2013 to oversee the remaining seven Sinhala dominated provinces where approximately 77% of the country’s total population is living.
In March 2014, the International Crisis Group revealed that out of 450,000 total military personnel, ‘almost two-thirds of troops were stationed in the north’ and ‘yields a density of one army member for every 8.7 civilians’.
Following the end of military operations in 2009, Tamils as well as international rights groups including the UN have repeatedly called for the demilitarisation of the north – east region.(JDS)