STF again under SL Defence Ministry

[TamilNet, Friday, 28 May 2010, 13:16 GMT]
The notorious Special Task Force (STF), a military-styled elite counter insurgency arm of the Sri Lankan Police, which has been responsible for a number of war-crimes and genocidal onslaughts against Tamil speaking people in the East, has been brought under the control of the Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa with effect from May 12 following a decision by SL President Mahinda Rajapaksa with the approval of his cabinet of ministers. The STF was responsible for the execution-styled massacre of five Tamil students in January 2006.

The decision has been made to ease the relationship between the STF and the military, according to the cabinet paper.

Since its formation, the STF had been under the direct control of the Inspector General of Police (IGP)

In July 2006 the STF was handed over the Defence Ministry and the IGP took its administration again in 2007.

The counter insurgency unit, which was the brainchild of the then SL President J.R.Jayawardene, was raised and deployed on the coast and hinterland of the Ampaa'rai and Batticaloa districts in 1984. The STF commandos were trained in counter-insurgency operations at that time by British ex-SAS personnel.

The relavance of STF commandos in determining overall strategic balance had diminished over the years as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) grew into a conventional fighting force. They were deployed selectively along the road to Mannaar since 1999, largely to patrol the border and harass the LTTE.

The STF has waged conventional and asymmetric war against the Tigers in Ampaa'rai and Batticaloa when Rajapaksa launched the military onslaught in the East and unilaterally withdrew from the Norwegian facilitated Ceasefire Agreement.


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