STF plays major role in countering extremism, combating organised crimes – Defence Secretary

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Defence Secretary Major General (Retired) Kamal Gunaratne has said the Special Task Force (STF) has a major role to play in countering extremism and organised crimes, including drug mafia.

Addressing the STF troops during his maiden visit to STF headquarters since he assumed duties as the Defence Secretary, the Defence Secretary commended the contribution given by the STF in maintaining national security, the Ministry of Defence said in a media release.

He said the STF had consistently proved its talents and professionalism in counter-terrorism and busting drug trafficking.

The Defence Secretary added that the STF, which is the elite force of the Police, would be in high demand not only as a law enforcement authority but also as a trained force in fighting against organised crimes.

The Defence Secretary, who was accompanied by the Acting IGP C.D Wickramaratne, was received by the Commandant of the Special Task Force Senior DIG Lionel Gunathilake and was subsequently presented with a guard of honour.

The Defence Secretary’s visit to STF headquarters is the first visit made by an official in his capacity in recent times.

Expressing his gratitude to over 700 STF personnel, who had sustained severe injuries during the war against LTTE terrorism, he said the STF had kept a remarkable stride in Sri Lanka’s 30-year long warfighting with LTTE terrorism, in which many heroic men and women of the STF had sacrificed with their lives and limbs.

The Defence Secretary, who recalled his three-decade-long experience as a decorated military officer, said the STF troops were specially trained soldiers who had demonstrated their professionalism as an elite force during the war and also pronounced their lethality and efficiency in the ongoing fight against drugs and narcotics.

He also highlighted the importance of uniting all intelligence agencies, which worked in isolation during the last regime, under the instructions of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to revive the network to maintain national security.

The Defence Secretary also expressed his gratitude to late Ravi Jayewardene who was instrumental in founding the STF back in 1984.

The Ranasinghe Committee report in the early ‘80s recommended the need to establish a Special Strike Force to assist the Police Department, as the existing special units were not effective to meet the terrorists’ attacks. The unit was first deployed in the Northern province to provide security to the Police Stations and to assist the Police to counter the terrorist threats. During this period late Ravi Jayawardena, then Security Advisor to the Defence Ministry, took an active interest in obtaining specialized training to STF personnel by foreign Instructors, the Defence Ministry said further.

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