Military directed to ‘take precautions’ over possible Black July terror attacks

Safrah Fazal

Following a letter addressed to Defence Ministry Secretary Gen. Kamal Gunaratne by Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandana D. Wickramaratne, pertaining to reports of a planned attack today (5) and tomorrow (6), the Commanders of the Tri-Forces have been asked to take precautions and measures to ensure the safety of the public.

The letter, dated 27 June 2022, states that a foreign intelligence service has planned to launch an attack in the North, South, or East of the island, to pass as an attack by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during this week that would commemorate the unrest that took place in July 1983, commonly referred to as Black July. The letter further stated that those in the North have been forewarned to avoid attending any events today and tomorrow.

When queried by The Morning yesterday (4) as to whether there would be increased military presence following these unverified reports, Defence Ministry Spokesman Colonel Nalin Herath said: “The Defence Secretary has directed the Commanders of the Tri-Forces to take necessary precautions.”

When questioned as to whether there would be a lockdown imposed due to these reports, he noted: “No such measure has been discussed thus far.”

A press release issued by the Ministry of Defence yesterday evening said that the disclosure of a purported terrorist attack that may be carried out today and tomorrow, invoking “Black July”, was taken into consideration based on unconfirmed information received through intelligence sources, but that it was unverified intelligence information with no ground information that would associate the occurrence of such a terrorist attack invoking the “Black July”.

However, the release further said that it is informed that such an attack could be carried out by terrorist groups and that anti-Government groups may also incite violence to discredit and destabilise the Government. 

“As maintaining public security and safety is of high priority, all measures will be taken to ensure a high degree of security while investigations will be carried out into the received intelligence. The Ministry of Defence requests the public not to panic and to carry on with their day-to-day work,” the release stated.

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