Sri Lanka army chief says ready to use maximum force against nationalist rioters
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka military is prepared to use maximum force against groups of nationalist rioters who are attacking Muslim citizens, Army Chief Mahesh Senanayake has said as a nation-wide curfew was declared following violence in two districts in the wake of Easter Sunday bombings.
"I am warning those who are moving around in motorcycles, destroying property of innocent people, threatening their lives," Senanayake said speaking on MTV, a private television station.
"The army will use force to end this. If we want to take this country forward people have to act intelligently.
"If necessary the army, together with other forces, are prepared to use maximum force.
Authorities slapped a nation-wide curfew late Monday after violence spread from Kuliyapitiya in the Kurunegala district to areas like Minuwangoda in the Gampaha district.
Islamist suicide bombers with links to Islamic State, an extremist group promoting a Pan-Nationalist agenda had carried out Easter Sunday attacks.
Security forces had made rapid progress against the terror network, helped by tip-offs from the Muslim community itself.
Sri Lanka’s police chief Chandana Wickramaratne said extremist groups which had not lifted a finger to help police apprehend the culprits were now creating trouble.
"A majority of people have helped us investigate those who carried out bombings, regardless of race or religion," Wickramaratne said.
"But a minority of extremists who had not even helped one iota is now harming property of unarmed innocent citizens."
"We will not allow them to show their force against unarmed citizens and de-stabilize the country," he said. (Colombo/May13/2019)