(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Security agencies had received 97 warnings prior to the Easter Sunday attacks, Defence Secretary Major General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne said.
The Defence Secretary said that despite receiving early warnings of the impending attacks 97 times by the security agencies, those who were responsible had overlooked its graveness and severity and failed to prevent the carnage that left over 290 casualties and approximately 500 injured.
He said that national security and defence were paramount for the country’s development and without securing them it was impossible for a country to progress and develop.
Maj.Gen. Gunaratne emphasised that national security and defence were also crucial in attracting much needed direct investment to the country.
Referring to the President’s election manifesto – Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour- he said upholding national security was the cornerstone in the vision towards the country’s development.
He expressed these views addressing a gathering of professionals at a session themed ‘Post COVID-19 Renaissance – Present and future development of Sri Lanka’, organized by the ‘Harimaga organization’ at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute.
“Though separatism was militarily defeated in May 2009, we need to eliminate the separatist ideology which a few individuals of the Tamil diaspora are constantly sponsoring,” Maj. Gen. Gunaratne said.
He said 12,242 ex-LTTE cadres were rehabilitated and reintegrated into the society during the post war period but some remnant front organizations of the LTTE were still attempting to indoctrinate and recruit these individuals to fuel their separatist cause for financial gains.
“Last week, we arrested over 1.5kgs of high explosives and some 90 odd detonators from Mannar. In addition, the military has also taken a few remote control devices into custody. If we also overlooked those incidents, none of these would have been recovered. We will never leave room for separatism from the North to rise nor extremism from the East to spread fear and destruction in this country ever,” Maj. Gen. Gunaratne said.
Highlighting the initiatives taken to change the existing system in prisons, Maj. Gen. Gunaratne said while a maximum security prison was already under construction to imprison notorious criminals and drug smugglers, mobile phone jammers had already been installed at the Boossa and Angunakolapelessa prisons.