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Sri Lankan troops to stay in Tamil-dominated North, says military chief Senanayake

Colombo: Sri Lankan troops will stay in the Tamil-dominated former war zone of North and look after the minority community, a senior army officer has said, virtually rejecting Northern Province Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran's demand of withdrawal of military.

"We are here to look after you, we will attend to all your needs," military chief in the north Mahes Senanayake said.

File photo of Sri Lankan soldiers. AP

File photo of Sri Lankan soldiers. AP

He said that his job as the security forces commander in the north is to prevent a recurrence of conflict by looking after the Tamil community, he told reporters in Jaffna on Saturday.

Senanayake said that there will never ever be a separatist war in Sri Lanka's north.

His comments came as Wigneswaran last week demanded the withdrawal of the military from the north.

"Even after seven years of ending the war, the military is remaining here. We want the police to do the job and not the military," Wigneswaran said.

The government stationed a large number of troops in the north and east since the LTTE began their separatist campaign for a separate Tamil state in the mid 1980s.

Despite international calls for down-sizing the military presence, the government has been reluctant for large scale withdrawal of troops citing national security concerns.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) battled Sri Lankan forces for a separate Tamil homeland. A brutal military crackdown ended the 37-year conflict in 2009. Rights groups claim government forces killed nearly 40,000 civilians in the final months of the brutal ethnic conflict.

Published Date: Jun 12, 2016 17:13 PM | Updated Date: Jun 12, 2016 17:13 PM

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