Passing out parade of the 60th Intake of the Special
Task Force (STF) today :
The force that bolstered the Forces
This article is written to mark the passing out parade of the 60th
Intake of the Special Task Force (STF) today at the STF Training School,
Katukurunda which will be graced by His Excellency the President Mahinda
The STF is proud to host HE the President and the Defense Secretary
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa for this important event, who guided the STF’s role
for success during the recently concluded successful Humanitarian
Operation against the LTTE.
The Inception of the STF
The Special Task Force (STF) is the elite-Para military arm of the
Sri Lanka Police which was formed on 1st March 1983. The STF is
specialized in Counter Terrorists Operations and VIP Security detail. At
the initial stages the best men from the Police Department were hand
picked and they were provided with specialized Para-military training by
one of the best elite units/British SAS (Special Air Services) in the
world. They were armed with M 16 weapons and backed by South African
made Buffle vehicles during 1980s.
Dedicated and highly disciplined
As soon as the STF was deployed for Operational duties in Jaffna
Peninsula, they killed Capt. Ranjan Lala; the deputy for LTTE leader
Prabhakaran in Thondamanaru area in 1984. On 1984.09.01 four STF
personnel were killed while they were on duty at Thikkam, Jaffna. Since
then 462 Commandos made the supreme sacrifice to safeguard the unity and
territorial integrity of the motherland.
The Special Task Force consists of highly skilled, highly motivated
and highly trained personnel that have earned the national and
international recognition for its highly disciplined highly precise
operations which have been recognized for its complexity and success.
The Special Task Force being a small unit has always prided it self
in team work to which they owe its glowing success. The initial foreign
training coupled with the vast experience gained throughout its journey,
groomed the STF as one of the most professional Para military outfits in
The Specialties of the STF
The personnel recruited to the STF are handpicked, educated; mentally
and physically fit who are put through 16 weeks of specialized basic
training at an approximate cost of Rs 450,000 per person. This training
lays the initial foundation on which this organization is
formed. From then on personal are put through the regular duties and
functions of the Special Task Force. Approximately after a period of a
year they fall into specialized areas such as small teams, search & bomb
disposal, intelligence, VIP protection duties, SWAT Teams, Communication
It is in this background and vast experience that the Special Task
Force has been recognized for its various specialized capabilities. The
main strength and capability of the STF is its small and flexible size.
The successful team handling of any form of terrorism/insurgency
situation with minimum casualties is its main specialty. The STF
Here they go with pride and vigour... Pictures by Indrajith
Troops have earned the reputation of being battle-hardened, fearless
fighters with the capacity to negate any form of threat.
The STF always believes in team work and in providing security to the
populace in a holistic way, covering all ingredients of security,
economic, social and psychological well-being. The soaring standard of
dedication, morals, values & discipline displayed by the STF commanded
respect as well as popularity in the whole country.
The STF is one of the few security agencies invited for the security
assessment duties at the last Olympics held in Beijing. The STF has
already trained Military teams from Maldives and India in addition to
specialized units of the armed forces. It also provides close protection
training for several local agencies like Air force and the Navy.
The Special Task Force is guided by the STF Motto, “Victory Assured”
The Special task Force has always been guided by its motto,
leadership and team work. The strength and success of the STF is the
concept of being apart of the STF family .It is a well formed, dedicated
and highly disciplined Unit. They have also been recognized for their
rapid deployment in difficult & rugged terrain. The deployment of
Motor-Cycle Teams, Sniper and ‘Cheetah Groups’, in our areas of control
are a few of the exclusive Specialized areas of the STF. The newly
acquired Para-Trooper Wing of the STF will enhance the current proven
capabilities of the STF.
STF Troops are capable of fighting in Built-Up Areas, Closed Quarter
Battle, Quick Reaction Deployment, handling Riot situations, Explosive
Ordinance Disposal, VIP Protective Security and Peace Keeping and
Minister of Defence
Secretary (Ministry Of Defence, Public Security Law & Order)
IG - Police
Snr. DIG (Administration/ STF/ Operational Command)
Snr. DIG Mahinda Balasuriya
Commandant - Special Task Force
(DIG K.M.L Sarathchandra)
Duties, functions and responsibilities of the STF
01) Conducting Counter-Terrorist Operations in Northern & Eastern
02) Securing the Main Supply Routes (MSR) in Ampara, BCO, Vavunia,
Mannar, Wellioya, Omantai - Kanagarayankulam and Kebbitigollawa areas
03) Manning the Forward Defense Line (FDL) in Kebbithigollawa area
04) Providing security for threatened villages in Ampara, BCO,
Vavuniya and Kebbitigollawa areas
05) Assisting the Police in Law-Enforcement duties
06) Providing security for key VVIPs
07) Providing security related analysis to other organizations
08) Conducting specialized search and bomb disposal duties
09) Assisting Disaster Management activities. Ex: Post-Tsunami
Reconstruction activities in Ampara/ BCO Districts
The Operational Deployment of the STF
As the STF grew in numbers, they were asked to provide protection to
key installations in Colombo District. Then the STF was vested with the
additional responsibility of providing personnel for the protection of
the Presidents, Prime Ministers, several Ministers of the Cabinet and
other VVIPs. By the year 1984, the STF had taken
over the control of the East from Valachchene to Potuvil. After going
through several curves throughout its history, at the moment the STF is
mainly dominating in Ampara, Batticaloa, Kebbitigollawa, Vavuniya, Madhu
area in Mannar, Wellioya, Pulliyankulam and Kangarayankulam in Vanni
The Passing out Parade of the 60th STF Intake
The 60th Intake consists of 100 Police Sub Inspectors and 314 Police
Constables who successfully completed the STF’s Basic Training programme.
The Basic Training course of the STF consists of 14 weeks training at
the STF Training School, Katukurunda and two weeks jungle training
conducted at a place in the Eastern Province. The basic STF
Course consists of subjects such as physical training, search
techniques, field crafts, basic awareness of explosives, map reading &
navigation, firing, tactics, battle field first aid, communication etc.
The STF’s Training School was established in 1984 and it was
instrumental in making the STF as one of the most professional Para
Military outfits in the region. The Tom Hegan; from the British SAS was
the first Chef Instructor of the STF Training School. In Sri Lanka, the
training of Battlefield Snipers and Small Teams were firstly introduced
by the STF Training School during 1980s.
The efforts made by former Commandant Lionel Karunasena and late DIG
Upali Sahabandu contributed immensely for the well-being of the Training
wing. The late DIG Upali Sahabandu was killed by a LTTE Suicide bomber
while he was engaged in an Operation on1996.12.17 in Karativu, Ampara.
The former Director (Training) SSP Upul Seneviratne, was also
assassinated by the LTTE on 2006.08.07 in Kandy. At the moment SSP
Patric Edama overlooks the STF’s Training Wing. Other than the Basic
Training programme, the STF Training School conducts several advance
training programmes such as VIP Training, Bomb Disposal & Search
Courses, Support Arm Courses, Sniper Courses, Small Team Training,
Intelligence Training, Refresher Courses etc.
As mentioned earlier, the STF training wing has successfully trained
Military teams from Maldives and India in addition to specialized units
of the armed forces. It is commendable to note that the STF instructors
were instrumental in forming the National Security Service (NSS) of the
Maldives in 2006. It also provides close protection
training for several local agencies like Sri Lanka Air force and the
Operational Victories of the STF
The STF is a battle hardened unit which has achieved several
operational victories since its inception in 1983, where many of them
were not known to the general public. As per the available facts, during
the Third Ealam war, the STF launched the under noted
operations in Kanjikudichchiaru area in Ampara District.
* Operation Weera Vikum - 1996
* Operation Veera Gigum - 1997
* Operation Akunu Pahara - 2001
Operation Akunu Pahara - 2001
On 04.06.2001 under the direction of Mr. K.M.L Sarathchandra; the
present Commandant STF, when he was the Director (Operations) at that
time with the assistance provided by then SP R.W.M.C Ranawan and then
ASP Rohan Silva launched the above operation against the LTTE in
Kanjikudichchiaru area. As per the intelligence prevailed at that time,
around 70 LTTE cadres were based in the jungle hideout. The STF
surrounded the LTTE’s main camp from four directions and took the enemy
by surprise. In the confrontation 15 LTTE cadres were killed and
recovered large quantity of military items.
Contribution of the STF towards the Humanitarian Operation launched
by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) to liberate the Eastern & Northern Provinces
from the LTTE.
Mavilaru/ Sampur & Vaharai Operation:
The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) launched the Humanitarian Operation to
liberate the entire Eastern & Northern Provinces from the LTTE, when the
terrorists blocked the Mavilaru Water gates in July 2006. The STF which
was mainly dominating the Ampara & Batticaloa Districts at that time
received instructions to take over the areas dominated by the SLA and
relieve them for the operational commitment at Mavilaru.
The STF successfully took over the security in Kalladi area, BCO town
and also secured the Main Supply Route (MSR) from BCO to Mailambaveli in
Eravur. In September 2006, the STF was asked to take over the Vavunativu
and Bridge Camp SLA bases in BCO to relieve the SLA troops for their
further commitments in Vaharai area. In January 2007, the SLA
successfully liberated Mavilaru, Sampur and Vaharai areas from the LTTE.
Kanjikudichchiaru Opeartion “Niyathai Jaya”
Under the guidance of Secretary - MoD, Operation “Niyathai Jaya /
Victory Assured” launched by the STF in the jungles of Kanchikudichchi
Aru in Amparai District on 4 January 2007 to destroy LTTE strongholds
and wither their influence in this jungle terrain posing threats to
national security interests in Akkaraipattu and Pottuvil Sectors. SSP
M.R Latif spearheaded the entire operation with the assistance provided
by SP W.P Wimalasena, SP Maduma Bandara, ASP T.F Hadji, ASP Vidura
Dissanayake, ASP P.K Kulatunga, ASP P.G.S Rathepitiya, ASP M.G.S.K
Muruthetuwegama, ASP W.M.K.S Pandivita and R/ SSP Dr. M. Balasuriya.
Around 24 LTTE bases were destroyed by the STF troops liberating the
entire Ampara District from the LTTE.
Batticaloa & Thoppigala Operation:
The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) with the direct assistance provided by the
STF successfully launched a Humanitarian Operation in February 2007, to
liberate the LTTE Controlled areas in Batticaloa District.
It marked the final phase of a massive Military Campaign launched
from Mavil Aru area in July 2006 to liberate the entire Eastern Province
from the LTTE. The combined Military campaign launched by the SLA and
the STF continued till the fall of Thoppigala from the hands of LTTE in
The due instructions were received by the STF in early February 2007,
to assist the SLA in launching the proposed military campaign to
eliminate the LTTE from Batticaloa and Thoppigala areas.
The initial operational plans were drawn on the basis of the
intelligence provided by the Intelligence Units and the Communication
Interception Units of the STF. During the following days the LRRP (Long
Range Reconnaissance Petrol) Teams belonging to the Army Commandos
brought down and stationed at identified STF bases. They have
successfully conducted number of LRRP Missions inside the enemy
territory destabilizing the LTTE leadership.
The thousands of civilians who lived within the LTTE dominated areas
continued to flee in to Government controlled areas with the progression
of the military campaign. Automatically the STF was vested with the
additional responsibility of assisting and over looking the newly
arrived Internally Displace Persons (IDP). From 14th May 2007, the STF
commenced the re-settlement of IDPs in Vellavelli Divisional Secretariat
Division with the assistance provided by the Government.
At the end of the programme the STF commendably re-settled nearly
100,000 IDPs in four DS Divisions with success.
Other than to the Mahaoya and Pulukunawa STF Sectors, further SLA
troops were received and accommodated at the STF bases in Batticaloa
Sector. They were also accompanied by Armoured Corps, Artillery and MBRL
Units which were strategically placed in identified STF bases to assist
Those SLA troops backed by heavy Artillery and MBRL fire advanced in
to the enemy territory from places such as Manmunai, Vavunativu,
The STF continued to assist the SLA by accommodating and supporting
them in number of ways which made the victory possible.
By the end of April 2007, the combined military campaign of the SLA
and the STF successfully cleared the entire Batticaloa Bowl area from
the LTTE with a minimum damage to the Government forces.
From 5th April 2007, the STF was vested with the additional
responsibility of taking over and dominating the newly cleared areas
from the SLA. Three new STF Sectors were formed in the regions of
Vellavelli, Kokkadicholai and Vavunativu. The STF Vellavelli Sector
which consisted of bases such as Kakachchawatta, Batto-Junction,
Thalawaya, Vellavelli, Paladiwatte and Porativu.
The Kokkadicholai Sector consisted of bases in Shanthimalai,
Attuchena, Mavadimumari, Kokkadicholai and Magaladithivu. The third STF
Sector was established in Vavunativu region. It consisted of bases in
Urasari, Kanchirankuda, Samanthiaru, Vavunativu, Pavakkudichena,
Unnichchiya, Aithamallai, Mahilavedduvan and in Naripulthottam.
The tireless an dedicated efforts made by then Director (Operations)
SSP R.W.M.C Ranawana, ASP Waruna Jayasundara, ASP J.R Senadira, ASP
Vidura Dissanayake, ASP G.S Rathepitiya, ASP Sylvester Wijesinghe and
ASP N.K.S.N. Gunaratne assisted the STF to regain the maximum domination
and best public confidence in the newly liberated areas.
Finally on 10th July 2007, the SLA regained Thoppigala with the
continuous assistance provided by the STF which also marked the
conclusion of one of the most successful military campaigns in the
Operation Launched in Yala area:
On 03-04-2009, under the direct leadership provided by the Commandant
STF DIG K.M.L Sarathchandra, the STF successfully launched an offensive
to eliminate the terrorists in Yala area. The STF troops were
spearheaded by DIG R.W.M.C Ranawana, SSP Ranjith Perera, ASP Sylvester
Wijesinghe, ASP P.K Kulatunga, ASP M.G.S.K Muruthetuwegama and ASP
N.K.S.N. Gunaratne. During the operation, the STF troops
killed 13 LTTE cadres and recovered several military hardware. The
Kandiah Sarawanandan alias “Paramanandam Master”, an explosives expert
including three female cadres were killed.
In January 2009, under the direct supervision of Snr. DIG Mahinda
Balasuriya and Commandant (STF) DIG Mr. K.M.L Sarathchandra, the STF
took over the responsibility of securing the Welioya road from Omanthai
Then the STF was asked to take over the A 9 Road from Omanthai to
Kanagarayankulam via Pulyankulama in February 2009, to assist the
ongoing Military operation in Northern. The STF contribution made the
history, when the first Military convoy made its journey from Jaffna to
Vavunia along A 9 road after 25 years on 2nd March 2009.
The STF also made a significance presence along Vavunia- Mannar road
and Madhu road.
The contribution made in Kebbitigolleawa area, securing the
threatened Sinahala villages has to be mentioned. The SSP K.H Jayaweera,
SSP J.K Nanayakkara, SSP Ajith Wickramasekara, ASP Waruna Jayasundara,
ASP A.M.L Abeykoon, ASP Rohana Karunarathne and ASP V.A.S Perera, ASP
Athula Davulagala made the STF’s final contribution for the Humanitarian
Operation in the Northern sector a success.
The SSP M.J.M Rishard, SSP Kapila Jayasekara, SP Ayasa Karunaratne,
ASP Athula Ratnayake, ASP Patric Silva, ASP A. Ranasuriya, ASP Rohana
Liyanage and ASP Deepatha Hettiarachchi have also made a commendable
contribution for STF’s commitments.