26th April 2019 21:24:46 Hours
Island-wide Army troops, together with Policemen, Navy and Air Force troops in a bid to stem fanatical terrorist extremism and restore normalcy in the country after Tri-Services were vested with required provisions with enforcement of Emergency Regulations are currently engaged in a variety of security operations with special focus on most vulnerable areas and places in Colombo and elsewhere.
Combined troops conducted a thorough search in the World Trade Centre (WTC) and the parallel Bank of Ceylon Tower in the heart of Colombo Fort, Nelum Pokuna Theater and several other buildings of commercial value on Thursday (25).
Similarly, many cordon and search operations in most vulnerable areas were conducted in Mattakkuliya and suburbs, Katuwapitiya, Pugoda, Puttalam, Kalladia and the troops provided full security to all funerals that took place in Katana – Negombo areas. Also, the troops were deployed around Muslim villages in the general areas of Puttalam to ensure law and order.
Over 15 Officers and more than 200 soldiers belonging to 141 and 143 Brigades of the 14 Division of the Security Force Headquarters - West joined those search operations and apprehended three suspects and handed them over to the Police for further investigations. Similarly, 583 Brigade troops conducted cordon and search operations in the general areas of Keselwatta in Panadura on Thursday (25). They searched 41 houses for security clearance in respective areas.
On the instructions of Major General Sathyapriya Liyanage, Commander Security Forces - West, Army troops conducted routine foot patrols, mobile patrols and road blocks where necessary and thorough searches into selected vehicles, safe houses, locations, buildings, etc in the past 48 hours.
According to Military Spokesman, close to a contingent of about 7,000 Army personnel are deployed in Colombo and its suburbs in order to crack down movements of terrorists, their acquaintances, sympathizers and transport of explosives, arms and ammunition. As of Thursday (25) dusk, combined operations have apprehended about 60 suspects who are now under Police interrogations at respective Police Stations.
Meanwhile, similar cordon and search operations are now underway in the Eastern Province in close combination with Special Task Force (STF), Navy, Air Force troops and Policemen. A few suspects from Riditenna, Valachchenai, Kattankudy and Dimbulagala areas were taken into custody by combined troops Thursday morning (25) as they failed to furnish valid reasons for their presence in respective locations.
Similarly, East troops launched a search on the Punani University faculty now under construction and cleared the complex of any explosives before several other searches were launched.
Major General Aruna Jayasekara, Commander, Security Forces - East in the meantime attended several meetings with religious leaders and civil activists in the past 24 hours and discussed matters related to maintenance of law and order in the area.
Meanwhile, Rev Fr Roshan, the authoritative parish priest in the explosion-affected Batticaloa church who was abroad at the time of the explosion met Major General Jayasekara on Thursday (25) and commended the Army role and its quick evacuation support in Batticaloa soon after the explosion occurred.
In the same vein, members of the Army have been kept on standby in the areas where mosques are situated as Muslims were about to begin their prayers on Friday (26).
In the meantime, troops belonging to Jaffna, Wanni, Kilinochchi, Mullaittivu and Central Security Force Headquarters are equally engaged in conducting separate foot patrols, static points, road blocks and vehicle checks in respective areas. Similarly, several suspects taken into custody during those search operations were handed over to the Police by the troops of the Security Force Headquarters - Kilinochchi on Thursday (25).