Sri Lanka tells outsiders to quit capital

September 13, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lanka has told thousands of people living in its capital “without any valid reason” to return to their villages, calling them a national security threat, a state-run newspaper said Saturday. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse told the Daily News that thousands arrive in Colombo each month from other parts of the war-torn nation, many of them ethnic Tamils fleeing fighting in the north.

“I prefer most of these people who had come from other areas to Colombo and suburbs and who are staying here without any valid reason to go back to their areas,” Rajapakse was quoted in the state-run Daily News.

“It is an immense problem for the security forces to provide security. The LTTE (rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) mingles with these people to infiltrate these areas,” he said.

Colombo came under intense pressure from international human rights activists in June last year, when hundreds of Tamils were evicted from the city and told to return to their villages, some in conflict areas.

They were later bused back to the city after the Supreme Court intervened and rapped the government.

Rajapakse, who is President Mahinda Rajapakse’s younger brother, said 6,950 people had