Sri Lanka military to deploy ex-soldiers for spying

Beefing up the militarization of Sri Lanka the army has launched an operation to enlist retired military personnel to collect intelligence information.

A classified directive dated 08 June 2021, has requested infantry divisions under the western command to provide details, by 14 June of ex-soldiers ready to come back. The programme is implemented under a five year ‘Way Forward Strategy’ devised by the army commander, says the directive sent out by Security Force Headquarters (West). JDS has seen the directive bearing reference 'ආසේමු (බටහිර)/ප්‍ර/සිවිල්/තාගො/01/2021(86)'.

According to the military, the Security Force Headquarters (West) command spreads over the 9 Districts of Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Puttalam, Kurunegala, Ratnapura and Kegalle in four administrative provinces. It covers a total land area of 19,475 sq km which comes to 29.73 percent of the land area of the Island. Just over 12 million – more than half the country’s population- live there.

Intel gathering

Newly enlisted ex-servicemen will be deployed for “gathering local intelligence information, fighting illegal activities (sand mining, drug trafficking, etc), emergency services during natural disasters, environmental protection programmes and other social services,” says the directive signed by Brigadier Rohan Wajira Ponnamperuma, Brigadier General Staff of Security Force Headquarters (West).

Since the current president came to power in November 2019, Sri Lanka has seen a surge in militarization. In January, 25 military officers were appointed as district military coordinators purportedly to tackle the spread of COVID 19 while the Covid response unit itself is headed by the Army Commander, General Shavendra Silva.

In January, JDS joined International Truth and Justice Project to publish a detailed chart to expose the extent of the ongoing militarisation of civil administration, which confirmed that nearly 40 former military men have been appointed to key positions in government.



Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

  • JDS is the Sri Lankan partner organization of international media rights group, Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The launching of this website was made possible by the EU’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), of which Reporters Without Borders is a beneficiary.