INorwegian Ambassador Calls on Jaffna Commander
Having received on their arrival in Headquarters SF-(J), Maj. Gen. Udaya Perera guided them to his official residence where the two parties had discussions on present situation in Jaffna. Responding to a question, SF Commander told the Ambassador that strength of the troops in Jaffna has been considerably reduced and almost all the sentry points manned by the army in public places were withdrawn.
“Jaffna being a part of the country, we have to maintain a force here on the ground of national security. Although we have restricted the soldiers to their camps, we have to reconsider it as some extremist political elements try to create chaos in various places of Jaffna. On the other hand, we have to assist the Police in maintaining law and order in violent situations at their request and carry out government’s development projects,” SF Commander said.
“There was a great demand for food during past two three years. And also Army had to provide food to civilians who were newly resettled until they found a livelihood. Therefore, as a welfare measure, Army grew vegetables soon after the war ended and made arrangements for civilians to buy them at very low prices. However, when agriculture in the area developed and economy of people improved, we stopped selling vegetable so that farmers could sell their products,” Maj. Gen. Udaya Perera added.
When asked about demobilizing the soldiers to reduce the strength of the Army, SF Commander explained of dire consequences which may arise after integrating soldiers with weapon training in the civilian society without a proper plan. He clarified that gradual reduction of the Army is now in place.
The three-member diplomatic delegation comprised Her Excellency Ms Grete Lochen, the ambassador, Ms Dagny Mjos, Counsellor and Ms Hanne Pilrem, Senior Advisor.