Army chief insists soldiers facing accusations dealt with

Army Commander Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake insisted that soldiers facing various accusations have been dealt with.

The Army media unit quoted Senanayake as saying that have cooperated fully with all law suits but if the investigations do not move forward with the speed it deserves, the Army cannot be held responsible.

He also said that the Tamils now maintain cordial relations with members of the armed forces in the North and that the relationship has seen an increase from 80 percent to 100 percent.

“Except for a few outside incidents, Army personnel at all levels have been maintaining high standards of discipline. The ‘Eelam’ ideology still persists, and we maintain surveillance all the time as members of the armed forces, although we do not present ourselves publicly with armaments. It is our armed forces which launched the world’s largest humanitarian operation. Thousands of Tamil people under the LTTE siege fled them and reached us in search of our security because they confided in us. We cooperated with the resettlement and rehabilitation processes while adhering to both the military law and the civil law. If any member in the Army has committed an offence, we have meted out punishment and in any Army in the world, those things could happen,” the Army media unit quoted Senanayake as saying.

He insisted that the Army cannot be accused of not cooperating with any investigation. He also said that any Army in the world is deployed in areas strategically important to the specific concerns of security and 76% of the civil sector-owned lands used by the Army in the North and East have now been released.

He says the process will continue until all such private lands are released under a five-year long relocation project of the Army.

“When I was the Jaffna Commander, I returned more than 86% of lands belonging to civilians due to prevailing peace. As it is today, there is no threat to the national security. Even if a threat breaks out, it is the tri-services and the Police who have to intervene. Hence, let them decide where they should be relocated. We normally release lands to respective divisional secretariats and not to individuals because that does not come within our purview.”

Senanayake says the Army is now fully committed to nation-building, promoting good relations and addressing concerns related to reconciliation. (Colombo Gazette)