STF called to guard prisons to thwart operating illegal activities from prison cells – Defense Secretary

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – The Defense Secretary Major General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne said the decision to deploy Police Special Task Force (STF) to strengthen security of the prisons was taken to thwart illegal activities operating from the prison cells.

The Police Special Task Force was deployed in outer perimeters of the Welikada Prison and Colombo Remand Prison to strengthen security from Monday (Aug 24).

Major General (Gunaratne said the decision was taken, especially to provide more protection to these prisons, to thwart illegal activities – smuggling drugs and using mobile phones to operate crimes from prison cells.

The Defense Secretary said prison guards had detected drugs, SIM cards and mobile phones daily from the Sri Lanka’s largest prison, which includes the Magazine Prison, Welikada Prison, Prison Hospital and Remand Prison.

Defense Secretary said the smugglers kept on operating illegal activities amidst tight security inside these prisons and it was found later that those illegal items enter into prisons as there were some loopholes at prisons entry points.

“This was revealed when we adopted the new system that integrated all related intelligence apparatus including prison’s intelligence unit, to work together to find the loopholes in prisons”, he said.

He said STF had already been deployed to maintain security in the Agunakolapelessa Prison.

According to the Defense Secretary, all gates of the Welikada Prison would be manned by the STF soldiers to prevent drugs, SIM cards and other illegal items entering the prison from tomorrow.

Maj. Gen. Gunaratne, addressing a gathering at the 25th Anniversary of the Sri Lanka Army’s 53 Division organized by 53 Division Commander Maj. Gen. Priyantha Senarathne at Dambulla, said prison’s officials were empowered more to conduct investigations inside prisons with the support of the STF.

While reiterating President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s directives to eliminate drug menace, organized crimes and extortions, the Defense Secretary said no one would be able to walk freely in the country if this situation continued for about four-five years.

“Sri Lanka would have been facing a similar situation like in Somalia”, he said.

He said all those measures were complied with President’s vision to create a safe country for all citizens of the country.

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