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DateLine Sunday, 19 August 2007

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State-owned firm provides security cover for vital centres

In the backdrop of Colombo security becoming vital, with many economic nerve centre coming under terror threats, the state owned security firm Rakna Arakshana Lanka Ltd. Established in February 07, this year has expanded its role to provide security for vital government installations relieving the Security Forces and Police personnel from another burden.

Within seven months operations, Rakna Arakshana Lanka Ltd with over 500 security personnel working under the institution is now providing security for Ceylon Petroleum Corporation oil storage facilities at Kolonnawa, Sapugaskanda, Muthurajawela and Orugodawatta, the Government factory and to the ITN transmission towers.

According to Chief Executive Officer of the Rakna Arakshana Lanka Ltd. Major Gen. (RTD) K.B. Egodawele from September 01, they will undertake the security of the Treasury and will expand its operation to the Southern province with the completion of interviews to recruit ex-servicemen and youth willing to join the security firm.

It has already received 1300 applications forms to join the security firm. The fully state owned security firm operates under the theme 'Rekmata Multena' to provide security for main economic centres of the Government stands on three major pillars discipline, commitment and loyalty.

The security firm, a brainchild of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and was established to streamline the security of vital government installations as security personnel attached to private security firms were not appropriately trained and were totally lacking surveillance capabilities to react an emergency situation.

As this organization has clear commanding structure, it will provide back up personnel to react to any emergency situation with proper weapon training.

The idea was to establish a better equipped and coordinated security organization to provide security for main government institutions which come under terror threats According to Maj. Gen. Egodewele the main objective of the establishment of the security firm was to relieve the security forces personnel handling the security of these vital government installations for the duties for their actual duties in the North East handing over the security of these institutions for a capable set of men.

Another objective of establishing this security firm was to ensure job security for forces personnel in their retirement or when they leave the Forces on completion of their agreements. As this security firm ensure jobs for disciplined and medically fit people as security personnel of the Rakna Arakshana Lanka ltd and they have been given the chance to earn more than Rs.16,000 per month.

The security firm provides the highest basic salary Rs.7,000 for Junior Security Officers and they will be given risk allowance for those who had to work under risky conditions.

Those who are recruited to the company are entitled for EPF, ETF, ration allowance, risk allowance, uniform upkeep allowance, good conduct allowance and incentive allowance.

But it has not posed any competition to other private security firms as it charge the highest prices for their operations compared to other private security firms as it provides professional service for the institutions obtaining its service. The services will be provided only for selected institution on the approval of the Ministry of Defence.

The organization directly comes under the Ministry of Defence as a self financed company and controls under a Board of Directors. Secretary Ministry of Defence, Treasury Secretary, three Additional and Senior

Assistance Secretaries from the Ministry of Defence, and the Military Liasance Officer of the Ministry of Defence functions as the members of the Director Board. The Chief Executive Officer Major General K.B. Egodawele functions as the Chief Executive Officer and directly responsible for the Ministry of Defence.

According to Major General Egodewele, ex servicemen aged below 45 years with two passes at the G.C.E. (O/L) exam are recruited as Junior Security Officers after two interviews and will be given four days training. For those who recruited outside the Armed Forces and Police will be given two weeks training.

"Discipline is one of the key elements in the security firm and it has already taken disciplinary action against three Junior Security Officers", Major Gen. Egodawele added.

The security firm also has taken precautionary measures not to provide weapons for the security officers when they are off from their duty.

"We also have made it compulsory for the ex servicemen to have discharge certificates and retirement papers from the Forces when they are joining Rakna Arakshana Lanka Ltd.", he added.


Tigers licking their paws?

The stoic silence on the part of the LTTE, especially after their humiliating defeat in the East, indicates that the Tiger outfit is preparing to create another calamity in the South. The incidents unfolded during the past few weeks indicate that they are in preparatory stage for these operations in the South.

All the intelligence agencies have been alerted about the Tiger plans to create mayhem in the south especially targeting the economic nerve centres in the South. In this backdrop Defence authorities have taken steps to intensify security in Colombo and suburbs in view of possible Tiger infiltration in Colombo.

These reports indicates that the LTTE has not given up the plans to disrupt the normal life style in the South and also to paralyze the economy to exert pressure on the Government to stop it from commencing military operation in Wanni to liberate Wanni from the clutches of the LTTE terrorism as it successfully did in the East.

That was the easiest way the LTTE can secure their strongholds in the Wanni and the North as they are sure that they cannot face the Security Forces due to severe shortage of man power and also due to the diminishing support from the same Tamil community which they represent after their defeat in the East.

With all the LTTE networks come under the scrutiny of the Security Forces and the Police foiling all their earlier attempts to create mayhem in Colombo the LTTE has now resorted to new tactics in preparation for these operations.

The modus oparendi of the LTTE is to induct cadres separately in Colombo and suburbs and transport explosives and weapons separately to Colombo adopting new mechanisms.

Under these circumstances the Security Forces and the Police has to intensify their operations to identify the cadres infiltrated into Colombo and also to detect the vehicles transporting explosives to Colombo.

The arrest of explosive laden lorry at a road block in Kotawehera, Nikaweratiya and the arrest of the freezer truck from Trincomalee explicitly explains the attempts made by the Tiger outfit to create mayhem in Colombo.

The transportation of claymore mine hidden inside a patrol tank of a vehicle belong to a Government official based in Kilinochchi shows shrewdly the LTTE is operating to accomplice their clandestine operations with clear determination to create mayhem.

Therefore the Security Forces and the Police have to question, even the innocent Tamil civilians living in Colombo intensely as it is very difficult to trace the sleeping cadres among the civilians.

The Security Forces and the Police had to act fast to disrupt the terror network in Colombo prevent them form putting together the explosives and the Tiger cadres together to accomplice their operations.

The Security Forces has to raid the safe houses of the Tiger outfit to detect the explosives transported to Colombo by using various routes in order to prevent unfortunate incidents in Colombo.

The Tiger outfit is also making similar efforts to prevent the Security Forces and the Police from raiding their safe houses making various allegations against them through politicians and organizations supporting their cause.

Therefore, it has become a very difficult task for the Security Forces and the Police to arrest suspicious people and conduct cordon and search operation in Colombo as they frequently come under severe criticism of the politicians.

It is now apparent that the LTTE is using these campaigns to discourage the Security Forces and the Police from conducting such cordon and search operations and raids in Colombo.

One classic example to prove this fact emerged on Wednesday once intelligence services and the Police received a tip off from a civilian about some claymore mines and hand grenades in a lodge in Wellawatta.

Once one sleuth from the State Intelligence Service visited to Wellawatta Police station to get their assistance for the raid the Police officer had shown him a large stock of files to him saying that were the repercussions they had to face after they conducted raids in lodges.

It was the stock of files containing Fundamental Rights cases filed against the Police officers by civilians for raiding their lodges and houses. However, the Police and the Security Forces conducted the raid and detected two claymore mines weighed 9 and 5 kilos each. The recovery was made from the lodge "Ideal Guest Inn" located in Sinsapa road opposite the Savoy Cinema.

It shows the way the Police officers have been disappointed due to the FR cases filed against them for acting in favour of the national security. If such situation developed in the entire country such FR cases definitely become a security hazard to the country.

The situation arose in the aftermath of the eviction of Tamils from the lodges in Colombo also one classic example to prove this fact.

The worst scenario of this situation is that if one such officer neglected an intelligence report, the whole process of securing of Colombo from terror attacks will go in drains. But, that does not means that people do not have the rights to file FR cases against the Security Forces and the Police if their rights are violated due to the acts of the LTTE.

But using these cases as a campaign against the Security Forces and the Police will definitely turned into a security hazard putting the entire country in a real danger.

Even under these severe circumstances the Security Forces and the Police are making concerted effort to contain the Tiger activities without allowing them to accomplice their operations freely in Colombo.

According to latest intelligence reports the Tiger outfit has chosen many routes to transport explosives to Colombo. Earlier, they frequently used the route via Medawachchiya to transport explosives and weapons to Colombo. But now it has become difficult task for the LTTE make use of this route for their operations due to large number road blocks along the route.

Apart from this route the LTTE also used to transport all their explosives directly to upcountry from Wanni and then transport them to the Colombo using different vehicles. The Security Forces have intensified their operations to block this route of the LTTE to prevent explosives fallen to the hands of the Tiger cadres operating in Colombo.

With this background in mind the Tiger outfit has currently using new route from Silawatura to Puttalam to transport logistics to Colombo. According to intelligence reports there is heavy LTTE build up in Puttalam area having many of their safe houses in Puttalam.

The presence of larger number of Tamil civilians along this route contributed immensely for the LTTE to choose this route for their operations as they forcibly make use of these Tamil civilians for their operations.

The sea route running parallel to the road also helps the Tiger outfit to transport explosives and weapons freely to the Chilaw and Wattala areas. Therefore, the Defence authorities have taken steps to intensify security in the area as the area provide easy access to the Colombo harbour, Katunayaka airport and also to the power stations in Kerawalapitiya.

The detection of over 100 hand sets from passenger travelling on Puttalam bound bus also indicates that LTTE is making use this route to have their supplies to Wanni too as it provides easy access for them via Puttalam.

Under these circumstances Puttalam has become a hot pot for LTTE activities. With these developments the Defence Authorities have extended the security plan for the Western Province to cover the Puttalam area to as it helps then to intensify their cordon and search operation to arrest Tiger operatives and the safer houses in the area.

Apart from this the Police also had taken steps to educate the public about the Tiger activities through the Public eye programme so that they also can help Security Forces and the Police to detect Tiger cadres awaiting for their mission in various places in Puttalam.

Therefore, the vigilance of the public would become decisive factor in the coming weeks too as the possibilities are very for the LTTE to come out with their terror plans to create mayhem in Colombo.

 

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