Discovery of Arms on Land and Sea Keeps Alive Speculation About Attempted Coup
COLOMBO: The discovery of huge caches of arms and ammunition on board a vessel in Galle on Sunday, and in a room in the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) in Colombo earlier on Friday, has kept alive speculation about an attempt by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his cohorts to stage an armed coup to avert defeat in the January 8 Sri Lankan Presidential election.
The media quoted the police spokesman Ajith Rohana as saying that an armory belonging to Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Ltd. (RALL), a quasi-civilian security agency affiliated to the Defense Ministry, had been sealed and that it would be opened on Monday after obtaining court orders.
The police have been quoted as saying that the armory was sealed after the ‘Anti-Corruption Organization’, which was formed by several outfits including the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), complained that the weapons had been used during the elections. The documents of the company are being checked by a special police team.
Daily Mirror reported that four containers of goods believed to have been imported by RALL and meant for distribution among voters, were also sealed. The police had received information that several suspicious looking containers were in the BMICH vehicle park.
Meanwhile, reports from the southern port of Galle said that the police have detained MV Mahanuwara, an arms vessel belonging to RALL.
A military source said that RALL has been in the business of providing Sea Marshals to protect commercial ships in the piracy-ridden seas off Somalia, in the Red Sea, off the East African coast, and the Arabian Sea, in collaboration with the Dubai-based firm Avant Garde Maritime Services. Avant Garde has a base in Galle and its vessel MV.Mahanuwara calls at the port for replenishments. “It does not unload arms there,” the source told Express.
However the question that is asked is, how arms belonging to RALL found their way to the BMICH during elections.
Green Signal for Probe
Meanwhile ,the Attorney General has given his consent to CID’s investigating Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s complaint that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former Foreign Minister G.L.Peiris, serving Chief Justice Mohan Peiris, and Western Provincial Councilor Udaya Gammanpilla had plotted to stage a coup in the wee hours of January 9.