Former Sri Lanka Army Commander Warns of New Attacks
May 9, 2019 (EIRNS)—Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, former Sri Lankan Army commander and now a Member of Parliament from the United National Party (UNP), warned in Parliament yesterday that he has information that new terror attacks like those on April 21, could occur on May 13. He was also highly critical of President Maithripala Sirisena, whose Sri Lanka Freedom Party shares a very uneasy coalition government with the UNP.
In a parliamentary debate, Fonseka, who is credited with having played a leading role in crushing the Tamil Tigers insurgency, declared: “We still have not neutralized the danger” of a new terrorist attack.
“The politicians would not understand this. Anyone conversant with security affairs must be aware that the danger is still lurking. The situation is still chaotic. Terrorism is not a problem that can be eliminated within two to three weeks. A nonchalant approach is one of the serious obstacles to in resolving this crisis. The politicians capitalize on this crisis to sling mud at each other and score political points,”
he said in his speech, according to The Island on May 8.
He warned that it would take at least two years to eliminate the danger, declaring that the government should hold the post of Law and Order Minister—which he said should be renamed Minister for National Security. That portfolio is currently being held by the President, who Fonseka says is far from competent to hold it. He has been supported in this demand by at least 89 MPs from UNP, who sent a letter to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, urging he name Fonseka to the post. Fonseka was also opposed to reopening schools, saying he told the Minister of Education that it puts the students in danger.
Fonseka further explained it was wrong for the Minister of Defense and the National Security Council to think that the problem is over:
“According to the President, the problem is now over. The NSC says that the crisis will be over in two weeks. It will take at least two years to strengthen the intelligence units and neutralize the threat. The security officials should realize this, and that the terrorists are now playing a game of hide and seek. In the meantime, there is another security warning that there will be bomb explosions at Nawala, Panchikawatte, Wellawatte and Fort Railway Station on May 13,”
Fonseka also said that Sri Lanka is the only country that eliminated terrorism through military operations, and that some 50% of the security force members with the experience of the war against the Tamil Tigers have left the service. Today, the army and the police do not have that wartime experience.