President revamps his security

police womenMaithripala Sirisena has disbanded the Presidential Security Division following reports that it was linked to murders during the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, and replaced the elite Sri Lankan unit with a highly-trained team of commandos.

Sirisena’s move to revamp his security comes ahead of the parliamentary elections scheduled for August 17. Sirisena had continued with the same Presidential Security Division (PSD) which protected Rajapaksa during his 10-year term, including when the country was at war with separatist rebels of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Minister of Public Order John Amaratunga said the PSD has been disbanded after its involvement in criminal activities, The Sunday Times reported.  He said the Special Task Force (STF), a commando arm of the Sri Lankan police, would now be responsible for President Maithripala Sirisena’s security.

The 5,000-strong PSD’s role came under the cloud following a string of investigations by the Criminal Investigation Department since Sirisena’s surprise victory over Rajapaksa in January.

Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne on Thursday claimed that three PSD personnel were linked to the murder of a national rugby player Wasim Thajudeen, whose death in May 2012 was earlier brushed aside by police as a road accident. A PSD personnel was arrested in late April when he came dangerously close to Sirisena carrying a loaded pistol during a function. It was the worst security breach in 16 years.

Two weeks later, in another second security lapse Sirisena mistakenly boarded the official vehicle of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinge after an event, the daily reported. It said the PSD personnel did not guide Sirisena to his official vehicle. (Economic Times)

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