June 19, Colombo: Sri Lanka Army has warned that harboring of any Army absentee is an offence punishable in court under the existing law.
Sri Lanka Army Headquarters in a media statement said that it has noted that sections of Army deserters or those absent without leave (AWOL), some of them still in hiding, are reportedly involved in committing criminal acts, robberies and various anti-social acts in different parts of the island.
It has been noted that in many instances, most of those elements operate under the cover or patronage of businessmen, underworld leaders, employers and other stakeholders and resort to such anti-social acts as per Police reports. Furthermore, some of them appear to seek refuge from some politically powerful elements and members of the clergy.
"It is pertinent to remind here that provision of employment or harboring of those Army absentees or deserters amounts to breach of the country's existing law and is an offence punishable in Court (133 of the Penal Code)," the Army said.
Likewise, respective Police stations as well as Sri Lanka Military Policemen with the assistance of state agencies are continuing operations island-wide to arrest those elements since they have repeatedly failed to receive general amnesties for legal discharge or report back to their relevant Army formations for discharge procedures.
Sri Lanka Army Headquarters therefore appeals all concerned in earnest to desist from aiding or abetting them, harboring or using them for any anti-social acts since such misdeeds reflect negatively on the Army image, although the Army could not hold any responsibility for such involvements.