Tri Forces play active role in the fight against drugs
[March 08 2019]
Forces' contribution in the
fight to eradicate illegal drugs
from the country is enormous.
The "Mathin Nidhahas Ratak' (A
country free of drugs) programme
which was born out of a
conceptual notion of the
President aimed at ridding the
country of this dangerous menace
has seen desirable results with
law enforcement agencies making
headway into confiscating large
quantities of drugs and
arresting many involved in this
illegal activity in various
forms in recent times.
The Tri Forces have extended their full support and
are actively working in close corporation with the Presidential Task
Force, Police, Special Task Force, Excise Department and other relevant
agencies in this national endevour.
A special press briefing was held at the Ministry of
Defence Media Centre in Colombo this morning (08 March) presided by the
Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne to educate the
media on the military involvement in the fight against illegal drugs and
drug eradication in the country. The tri Forces Commanders, Army
Commander, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Navy Commander, Vice
Admiral Piyal De Silva and Air Force Commander, Air Marshal Kapila
Jayampathy who were also present at the occasion elaborated on the role
played by their respective forces in this regard. Military Spokesman
Brigadier Sumith Atapattu was also associated with the press briefing.
The Army, as the "Rata Rakina Jathiya" (Defenders of
the country) has rendered active assistance upon request to carry out
drug related operations to the Police and other related agencies. The
Army conducts educative awareness programmes and assist to recruit
volunteers to drug prevention committees at village and regional levels.
Exchanging intelligence gathered from its vast network
with other line agencies is another form of assistance provided by the
Army that had added strength to this programme. It has also extended
willingness to assist to rehabilitate drug addicts at its Kandalkadu and
Senapura rehabilitation centres.
Operations launched by the Navy to stop the influx of
drugs into the country by sea has seen a large amount of such dangerous
substance being confiscated in recent years. Last year alone Navy has
been successful in confiscating more than 2100 kg of Kerala Cannabis,
popularly known as KG during 41 instances. its operations have managed
to recover over 680kg of KG since the beginning of this year. A large
amount of drugs finds their way into the country in an organized manner
often in the guise of involving in fishing activities.
Naval patrols over the maritime domain of the country
has been successful in apprehending large quantities of dangerous drugs
and persons involved in this activity. In 2017 alone 168 persons were
arrested by the Navy while transporting drugs while 88 were arrested
last year. So far 29 persons have been arrested by the Navy in the
current year. Awareness programmes are also conducted by the Navy at
schools and places of religious worship with the intention of curbing
the demand for such dangerous substances. Navy's special ten-day
training programme in tackling drug operations has shown good results.
Many countries have also shown interest in acquiring this training. The
assistance of the Combined Task Force based in Bahrain which plays an
important role in curbing drug trafficking in the "Southern Route" on
the regional seas is also forthcoming to the country.
Information collected through air reconnaissance
flights operated by the Air Force has assisted law enforcement personnel
to penetrate dense jungles and destroy large areas of Cannabis
cultivations. Such operations which commenced in 2015 utilize Y-12,
Beechcraft and Bell 212 helicopters to survey large areas of land and
sea for tracking suspected movements, Cannabis plantations and other
such illegal activities. The Air Force also use drones in its
operations. During the past three years, the Air Force has made over 750
flying hours of reconnaissance flights. And this year already 100 flying
hours have been spent on such operations. During the last two years Air
Force has been able to find 199 Cannabis plantations. And it has already
found 40 plantations this year.
The combined efforts of the Tri Forces, Police, STF,
Excise Department, Customs Department and other state agencies in the
anti-drug war have brought about good results. It is the duty of every
law abiding citizen of this country to work towards the wellbeing of the
people and development of the country. The collective effort of all to
eradicate the threat posed by dangerous drugs will not only save lives
and strengthen the fabric of the society but will also give a positive
message to the rest of the world on how to face national challenges and
rise as a nation.