New Military Council Formed To Counter Insurgency
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ President Junius Jayewardene on Monday established a new joint military council to oversee the campaign against Tamil guerrillas seeking a separate state in the north.
The new council, to be chaired by Jayewardene, includes Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa and National Security Minister Lalith Athulathmudali, the government said.
Other members on the council are the commanders of the army, navy and air force, the inspector-general of police, the Cabinet secretary, the secretaries to the ministries of defense and national security, the country’s intelligence chief and the president’s security adviser.
The new Joint Operations Council supercedes the previous National Security Council which Jayewardene headed in his capacity as defense minister. Though the national security minister was a member of the old council, the prime minister did not sit on it.
The announcement said the current army commander, Maj. Gen. Tissa Weeratunge, was named general officer commanding joint operations, with promotion to the rank of lieutenant-general.
Sri Lanka is dominated by the Sinhalese majority, but Tamils form a majority in the northern part of the island nation and militant Tamils have been waging a guerrilla campaign as part of their effort to create an independent state there.