A second retired Major General among nine arrested over mercenary recruitment



By Norman Palihawadane

The number of persons arrested and detained for involvement in human smuggling facilitating recruitment of former military personnel to serve on the Russia-Ukraine front increased to nine with the police taking into custody a retired Army Major General and his wife, police said on Friday.

Police said that hundreds of ex-servicemen had been misled by unscrupulous foreign employment agencies that promised them job opportunities in Russia and Ukraine now at war. Many of these former solders with war experience had expected to serve the military but not be deployed to the front. They expected the winter cold to be the main challenge they had to face.

However, they were finally sent to the front and faced drone attacks. The situation of most of the mercenaries in Russia and Ukraine is same, according to Lankans who had been able to flee the war front and return home, police said.

The police said that the arrests are part of a broader investigation into the network responsible for such illegal activities which is aimed at dismantling the human smuggling racket and preventing further exploitation of former military personnel.

The retired Major General along with his wife were arrested from Wattala on Thursday. The wife was released on bail on being produced before court. The total number arrested so far has now risen to nine and more arrests are anticipated, a senior officer said.

The suspects now arrested include two retired Major Generals and a Sergeant of the Sri Lanka Army. On Thursday, five suspects were produced before the Negombo Magistrate’s Court and remanded till May 30.

Earlier this month, the same court remanded till May 30 the five suspects, including a retired Major General. At least eight Lankans have died in the battlefront while more remain missing with their families unable to make contact, according to the latest information, police said.