In the wake of violence being reported in some areas, Army Commander Mahesh Senanayake in a hard-hitting statement said yesterday that the armed forces would not hesitate to use minimum or maximum force to stem any violence.
Here is the full text of his speech:
“After incidents occurred yesterday in the North Western Province, starting from Chilaw and spreading to Kuliyapitiya, Hettipola and other areas, we had to impose curfew last evening. There were incidents of youth involved in damaging and destroying property. So, I as Army Commander, request and at the same time warn anyone who has planned to destroy or dishonour the orders given by the government or the Armed Forces, that we will take stern action. I say again we will take stern action to apprehend, arrest and even open fire and use minimum or maximum powers given under emergency.
We will ensure that the country will not return to violence, including the violence of radicalisation and terrorists. Please ensure that you do not get involved in such illegal incidents or any such activities. The Armed Forces will not hesitate to use our powers to curb, curtail and contain the situation. The Armed Forces are strong enough to ensure there won’t be an escalation of violence in any part of the island. We have deployed the Army, Navy and Air Force to assist the police to maintain law and order. I humbly request the youth not to get involved in violence and get entangled with the Armed Forces where we are ready to use our powers.”