Remains of two soldiers killed in Mali to reach Sri Lanka on Saturday

The remains of posthumously promoted late Major H.W.D. Jayawickrama and Sergeant S.S. Wijekumara, who were killed in Mali while performing UN Peacekeeping operations, are expected to reach Sri Lanka on Saturday (2 Feb), the Army media unit said.

The Army said that the remains will arrive at 3.10 pm and will be formally received in a military parade, graced by the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Director General Personnel Administration of the Army, Major General Devinda Perera, UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka Ms Hanaa Singer, Colonels of Regiments for Sri Lanka Light Infantry and Mechanized Infantry Regiments, Senior Officers, spouses and relatives of both War Heroes.

The UN flag-draped coffins, accompanied by the MINUSMA Force Commander, Lieutenant General Dennis Gyllisporre with three more UN Officers of his office is to be formally delivered to the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake and the Director General of the Personnel Administration at the airport.

After Sri Lankan National Flags draped the coffins, vigilant troops in the ceremonial parade would hand over the UN flag back to the visiting MINUSMA Force Commander, Lieutenant General Dennis Gyllisporre before the simple ceremonial parade formally receives the remains to be sent to the Negombo Hospital for a post-mortem.

Military funerals for both fallen UN Peacekeepers would take place at their respective residential areas in Polonnaruwa and Polpithigama. Date, time and the exact venue of funerals are to be notified shortly.

At the time of their tragic demise, Captain H.W.D Jayawickrama of 11 Sri Lanka Light Infantry from Polonnaruwa and Corporal S.S Wijekumara of 1 Mechanized Infantry Regiment from Thalakolawewa, Polpithigama of the Sri Lankan Army Contingent in Mali laid down their lives on Friday (25) following an explosion while performing their UN Peacekeeping Mission duties around 6.30 a.m. in Keerana area after their WMZ convoy was attacked by a rebel group using an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

Three more Sri Lankan Peacekeepers sustained injuries and were admitted to the Level 2 Hospital at Gao in Mali. (Colombo Gazette)

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