Sri Lanka refutes reports on heavy military presence in north

Last Updated: Thu, Jul 12, 2012 21:00 hrs

Sri Lanka has refuted reports that the country's military presence in the Tamil-dominated north represented five soldiers per civilian, with the army claiming that its current strength in Jaffna was about 10,000.

"In Jaffna the population is around 500,000 and the current Army strength is about 10,000 soldiers. So the statement that five soldiers per civilian is not correct", Sri Lanka's Army chief Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, told reporters.

The Army chief was responding to the reports that had put the current military presence in Jaffna to be around 198,000.

Jayasuriya said the Sri Lankan Army's role was no different to any other Army in the civic military action which followed a conflict.

"Post conflict there will be issues, situation is such that people get displaced. The Army immediately got involved in supporting the government machinery in restoring everything back to normal. We are glad to say that we have done that in three years", Jayasuriya, who took over the Sri Lankan military leadership at the conclusion of the successful military campaign against the LTTE, said.

Commenting on the number of military camps in the north on which Sri Lanka had faced international criticism, Jayasuriya said, "like any other Army we have camps, where they should be placed is the Army's decision".

Sri Lanka has faced international pressure to de-escalate the military presence in the former conflict zones.

The government however says it was wary of possible moves by the pro-LTTE diaspora in the West to resume violence in the areas.

The national security imperatives demanded the presence of military.

More from Sify: