The security forces are likely to take a tougher stand against ongoing LTTE efforts to destabilise government-controlled areas in the northern and eastern provinces.
President Mahinda Rajapakse is determined to restore normalcy in areas under security forces` control, a senior military official said.
The military said that there were incidents in Jaffna and Point Pedro Thursday as Norwegian Ambassador Hans Brattskar arrived in Jaffna for consultations with the military.
Army headquarters said a group of students had thrown stones at an army point situated near a government Technical College, close to the Jaffna-Kankesanthurai road, around 11 am. `Several shots were fired at the troops,` an army spokesman said, adding that troops fired in the air to disperse the violent crowd. According to him several LTTE cadres taking cover behind the students displayed hand grenades. `It was an obvious attempt to provoke the troops,` he said.
The change in the security forces posture, particularly in the Jaffna peninsula, comes in the backdrop of the recent twin claymore blasts that claimed the lives of 15 soldiers.
Despite repeated LTTE provocations, Rajapakse`s predecessor, Chandrika Kumaratunga`s administration adopted a flexible attitude, in one instance transferring Vice Admiral Sarath Weerasekera (COMEAST) out of Trincomalee following a hotly disputed internal inquiry. The transfer came into effect after the Deputy Chief of Staff was falsely accused of playing politics with volatile situation in Trincomalee consequent to the erection of a Buddha statue near the main bus stand.
Maj. Gen. Vajira Wijegoonewardene, Overall Operations Commander in charge of Colombo security was unceremoniously transferred after he urged Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Admiral Daya Sandagiri to take immediate measures to counter the alarming LTTE threat. This was in the aftermath of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar`s assassination.
Wijegoonewardene was denied a new post for about three weeks before Kumaratunga gave him a fresh appointment.
Batticaloa Brigade Commander Brig. Jagath Dias was ordered out of his station 24 hours before the November 17 presidential poll. He was falsely accused of collaborating with Karuna loyalists as part of a disputed strategy to facilitate a Rajapakse victory.
The newly appointed Army Chief Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka after visiting the Jaffna peninsula on Tuesday ordered two key changes in the top command structure. Jaffna Security Forces Commander Maj. Gen. Sunil Tennakoon has been replaced by Maj. Gen. G. A. Chandrasiri (Armoured Corps) who returned from India`s prestigious National Defence College. Tennakoon is going on leave prior to retirement early next year.
Brig. Srinath Rajapakse has replaced Maj. Gen. Nimal Jayasuriya, an experienced field commander, as the General Officer Commanding (GOC) the elite 53 Division comprising Commandos, Special Forces and Air Mobile troops. Jayasuriya has been directed to take over WeliOya. He replaces Brig. Mahesh Samaraweera.
The Island learns that there will be several other transfers with some officers based at the headquarters being moved to operational areas.