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Tuesday, 08 May 2012 - 13:20
Defence Secretary speaks of military's current role
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Secretary of Defence Gotabhaya Rajapakse states that of approximately 11,600 combatants who surrendered to the Armed Forces at the end of the war, many of them have been released and re-integrated into society.

The Defence Secretary expressed these views in a special interview with the Asian Tribune website in response to a question regarding rehabilitation of ex-combatants.

He added that today those who had been fighting at various levels in the LTTE from leaders to the forcefully recruited are now part of society.

The Defence Secretary was also questioned on the current Military presence in the North and East.

In response he stated that the government has gradually reduced their numbers in civilian populated areas and have withdrawn them from their day-to-day involvement and are now in their camps.

He added that maintenance of law and order has been handed over to the Police, reiterating that new Police stations have been opened in Mankulam, Killinochchi, Pooneryn and other such areas.

A key feature at these Police stations is that the government has recruited Tamil speaking individuals who are from Jaffna and other northern areas who have been trained and stationed at their respective police stations so that it is ensured that the Police can effectively communicate with the Tamil speaking people in these areas.

When asked about High Security Zones, the Defence Secretary responded that today you will find that the government has completely removed all High Security Zones.

He added that in Palaly the original camp was very small and today there is requirement for a larger camp and a certain land has been acquired.

Therefore the land is currently on rent and it will be purchased when funds are available.

He added that people have been given compensation for their land and will also be given alternate land elsewhere.

The Defence Secretary also noted that if there are any religious or culturally significant sites within the camp premises the public will be given the freedom to visit these places.

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