The use of private security personnel to provide security to politicians and the use of unauthorised weapons has been banned, the government announced today.
Cabinet spokesman and Minister Keheliya Rambuklwella told the weekly Cabinet news briefing that the decision was taken at a special Security Council meeting held at Temple Trees today.
The meeting was chaired by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and attended by Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the commanders of the armed forces and the police chief.
The minister said the security forces personnel have been deployed to seize illegal weapons used by private security guards. By last afternoon 12 automatic weapons, two pistols and four revolvers had been confiscated. The minister said a large number of illicit firearms are being used by underworld gangsters, drug peddlers and robbers.
This is in addition to those used by private security personnel hired by politicians and VIPs. He said the government was determined to put an end to the gun culture and lawlessness in the country and added that President Rajapaksa had instructed relevant defence establishments to take strict action against those who violated the law.
“These measures were taken in addition to making it compulsory for MSD personnel to wear their uniforms while on duty,” Minister Rambukwella stressed. He said the cabinet was concerned about the dangerous security situation that prevailed in the aftermath of last Saturday’s Mulleriyawa shootout that killed presidential adviser Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and critically injured parliamentarian Duminda Silva.
The minister said the gun culture was not a recent phenomenon and that it had been around for more than 40 years since the 1971 youth insurrection and the 30-year ethnic conflict. “At the time the government was unable to provide security not only to the VIPs and politicians but to the people as well.
The government’s policy was that each individual must look after his or her security,” the minister said. He said with the end of the war in May 2009, large numbers of illicit weapons and deserters were in circulation around the country and resulted in an increase in the gun culture and the spread of lawlessness. (SAJ)