Jungle Telegraph

20th May 2001
By Alia
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Locked secrets

The boss in a high security zone, easily the most troubled spot in Sri Lanka, is on a month long overseas tour. 

If he packed his bags and left under controversial circumstances, he has left behind a knotty problem for his bosses and those in the Ministry of Defence. 

He had locked up his office room the nerve centre from which he directed and controlled all activity. Only he seems to know where the keys are. 

The number two who has been called upon to act for the boss is operating from his own room. He has only inherited the boss' direct line. All other facilities that go with the office of the boss are not for him. 

That included a top secret communications facility in the event of utmost urgency. 

The poser for the top brass and MOD bureaucrats is very clear. They need to make a policy decision on whether top men in uniform are entitled to lock their office rooms every time they are on a sojourn abroad. Otherwise, more and more offices will remain closed whilst others officially entitled are denied their rightful use. That is in the performance of their legitimate official duties. 

Unauthorised venture

Canada's High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, Ms. Ruth Archibald, is certainly more brave than many of her predecessors. 

She courageously crossed the security forces barrier at Piramanalankulam last month to venture into LTTE dominated Wanni. That visit included even a meeting with Political Wing leader, Thamil Chelvam. 

Her foray, unlike journalist Marie Colvin's, was with the approval of the Ministry of Defence. 

But the talk in diplomatic circles now is that the good lady did not have the prior permission of her own External Affairs Ministry. They felt uncomfortable at the news that she had ventured into sensitive terrain without prior clearance. 

Green grass probe

The Military Police have begun a probe on an officer who loves green green grass for his home. 

The man serving in an eastern base had detailed five soldiers to travel in a service lorry all the way to Pasyala to pick up a load of sods of grass or pideli. They were to be transported to his house somewhere near Kotte, he had ordered. It was only thereafter that the lorry was to report to Headquarters for an official task carry some supplies to the base. 

But the operation to cut pideli was delayed and the Military Police swooped down on the soldiers. The men bore stubble on their faces and wore crumpled clothes. They had not bargained for a prolonged stay. They have now given their statements to the MPs. 

New censor

They say even the boss does not seem to know. A top runger in the sea faring tribe has sent out orders to those in the outstations to monitor their telephones.

He does not want men there to speak to either the press or the politicians. Some are now calling him the new Censor.

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