Nov 15, Colombo: 'Aava' gang, the underground motorcycle gang unleashing violence in Northern Province is not a group steered by the military and no active military personnel are associated with the group, Sri Lanka's State Minister of Defense Ruwan Wijewardene said today in parliament.
Responding to a statement made by Parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake, State Minister Wijewardene clarified that one of the Aava gang members arrested is an army deserter and investigations are being conducted to ascertain whether any other ex-military men are involved.
MP Dissanayake raised the question in light of a statement made by Minister Rajith Senaratne that the gang was a creation of former defense secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.
Minister of Law and order and Southern Development Sagala Ratnayake assured that the group unleashing violence in the North is not a terrorist outfit. They have carried out various criminal activities including robberies, assaults and are also involved in ransom incidents. It has been learnt that the group had been committing crimes on a contract basis.
According to the Minister the gang was formed as a result of a brawl between two groups that happened during a ceremony in the Nallur Amman Kovil in Jaffna in 2011 and the majority of Aava gang members are between the ages of 18 to 25.
The Minister said 38 of the 62 identified members of the group were now in custody and the leader of the group Kumaresh Ratthinan Vinothan alias Aava has been arrested. Out of the 38 arrested, 32 are facing judicial action. Operations are in progress to arrest 8 more considered to be key leaders.