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Civil Defence Force to assist with the military successes

President Mahinda Rajapaksa on his surprise visit to Kilinochchi inspects the arms and explosives captured from the LTTE

The Civil Defence Force (CDF) being an auxiliary force to the Armed Forces have taken serious effort in protecting the lives and properties of people in the threatened villages during the course of humanitarian operations which began with the closure of sluice gates of Mavilaru anicut in 2006.

Since then, the CDF played a key role in removing the fear psychosis from the minds of people in such villages by providing maximum security to their dwellings and properties. The villagers showed reluctance to leave their homes and properties due to the security arrangement launched by the CDF in threatened villages.

According to Civil Defence Force Chief Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera, the CDF was made into one of the most viable and competent paramilitary forces to save the rural people of all communities in the North and the East.

Rear Admiral Weerasekera said young blood was infused to the force after the former Home Guard Service was renamed as the Civil Defence Force with the establishment of Department of Civil Defence on January 1, 2007.

The CDF with the strength of over 41,500 personnel has made their contribution to all the fields of activities during the humanitarian operation that was launched to free the country from terrorism that has devastated the country’s progress for over two decades. Weerasekera said his personnel were on duty at the threatened villages, police stations and Forward Defence Lines in the North.

“Our personnel are teaching in schools in such villages as the teachers posted by the Government to such schools show reluctance to come to the village. According to Weerasekera, more than 50% of school teachers in Welioya are CDF personnel.

They teach in rural schools in Anuradhapura, Ampara, Trincomalee and Polonnaruwa districts during the day time and guard the villages at night. They have tremendously helped boost the children’s education in threatened villages.

“We were also tasked to protect the main supply routes to Forward Defence Lines, man checkpoints in collaboration with the Armed Forces and the Police and help Sri Lankans in times of natural disasters,” he said.

The threatened villages in the North and the East provinces experienced a number of ruthless terrorists activities such as Kebettigollewa, Gonagala massacres which resulted in mass exodus of innocent civilians to the south.

“It is the Civil Defence Force that came to the rescue of these innocent civilians. We were able to convince these civilians to remain in the areas where they have lived for centuries as the CDF is capable of providing security to these civilians, he said.

The Civil Defence Force consists of over 40,000 personnel from threatened villages and we were able to convince them that they are protected under the CDF”, he said.

He said the CDF erected a human fence to prevent the terrorists being infiltrated to the south. The CDF personnel averted major disasters by early detecting explosive devices hidden in public places and left no room for the terrorist activities to take place in the south.

Our personnel made their presence in all places of public importance such rural hospital. Weekly fair, government offices and schools. The villagers continued their agricultural activities under the protection of CDF personnel whose dedication and commitment to protect their own village is unimaginable, Weerasekera said.

He said the CDF personnel have themselves experienced the violence unleashed by the LTTE. Most of their family members or villagers have been affected by terrorist atrocities and the desire to protect the area where they were born and bred were from the bottom of heart.

Rear Admiral Weerasekera took the challenge of converting the CDF as a respected and viable Defence Force in the country by introducing various programs. The CDF personnel who showed exceptional performances in the North and the South to save civilians from terrorists were equally recognized.

Rear Admiral Weerasekera effected many changes in the Civil Defence Force after he became the Director General of the Civil Defence Force. He changed the uniforms and gave a complete training to the CDF personnel on the handling of weapons and working with civilians alike.

The most talented personnel in the CDF were singled out and given a special training and were recruited to a special unit namely Nandamitra Force which was tasked to protect the villages close to the Forward Defence Lines.

Rear Admiral Weerasekera said the role played by his men of all rank and file is not finished and they are bound to develop the country. The CDF will be integrated into a productive force that could revive the war affected country’s economy. The Civil Defence Force will uplift the country’s economy by promoting agricultural and industrial production in the future, he said.

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