Kosgama Debacle: Investigate Involvement of Crooks Seeking Commissions on Weapons Purchases
Posted on June 7th, 2016
The security debacle and a resultant explosion in Kosgama is the worst Sri Lanka has seen. It may have costed over $10 million (1.5 billion rupees) in destroyed stock. Damage to houses and complex also runs to a few hundred million rupees. Heads must roll over this debacle. The Defence Secretary and the Army Commander must take full responsibility and resign from their posts forthwith. That will facilitate an impartial investigation into the matter. It is nearly impossible for an accident to spark the initial explosion and then spread to the entire complex. A systematic and deliberate ignition is more likely. Those involved within and outside the complex must be investigated.
Since the war victory in 2009, the need for regular purchases of stocks ended. Stocks need to be replenished only when the material reach their use by date which is long. That means no regular purchasing. It is no secret purchases attract lofty commissions and this was one of the most lucrative industries during wartime. Someone was not making big bucks he/she used to make for decades. The possibility of such an involvement must be seriously considered and investigated.
It may also be part of a concerted attempt to remove army camps. Fires have been lit around army camps in the north in an attempt to remove them. Political thugs have stormed into army camps demanding the camp is dismantled. In this context, such acts of terror cannot be ruled out.
It is essential to deploy artillery and multi barrel rocket launchers (MBRLs) within striking distance of Colombo Port and Colombo City to deter a foreign invasion and foreign-aligned locals conniving with foreign parties to siege the city. Since MBRLs have a maximum range of 25km, it is imperative they are kept well within that range. A reasonable quantity of artillery must also be kept handy. Unlike attack planes, helicopters, ships and tanks a fired artillery cannot be stopped. In the case of MBRLs, only seconds are needed to discharge its volley making it nearly impossible to stop them. Therefore, removing army camps with these facilities within 20km from the Colombo Port is not advisable. The point is not their use but the capability it brings to deter an enemy. If there are no defences whatsoever, every invader will try their luck. Similar capabilities have saved many smaller nations against bullying tactics of larger invaders. The government must not make use of this to remove army camps and weapons depots within 20km of the Colombo City. That jeopardizes national security. Any Indian or Tamil involvement in the incident aimed at weakening security capabilities in Colombo should be investigated.
The present dispensation has proved clearly it cannot look after national security interests. This may be the tip of the iceberg or the start of something huge.