Sea-going Home Guards?

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 15 April 1998, 23:59 GMT]
The Sri Lankan government announced today that it will establish an 'Ocean Security Brigade' formed with ten thousand combat trained personnel drawn mainly from the fishing community in the Sinhala coastal provinces.

Sri Lanka's Minister for Fisheries and Mahinda Rajapaksha said that the Ocean Security Brigade is going to be established with a view to protect the resources of the sea in Sri Lanka's maritime zone and Sri Lankan fishermen.

He said that preference in recruitment for the 'Brigade' would be given to fisher families.

The move is seen as a parallel to the establishment of the controversial home guard system in the mid eighties.

Military sources said last week that seven thousand home-guards had been issued automatic assault rifles and were being trained by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) to man the forward defence lines (FDLs) on the Anuradhapura - Vavuniya border.

The move is expected to relieve SLA troops which are currently stationed on the border to secure the Sinhala villages in the region.


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