New Sri Lanka Army Commander assumes duties

[TamilNet, Thursday, 01 July 2004, 14:06 GMT]
Lt. Gen. Shantha Kottegoda who took his duties as the 17th Army Commander today (Thursday) admitted at a press conference that the statement by the Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera that Army personnel were involved in Karuna’s issue, was “an embarrassment to the Army”.

At the meeting attended Chief Of Staff Maj.Gen. Chula Seneviratne and Deputy Chief Of Staff Maj.Gen. Sarath Fonseka the new Army Commander said that it was a serious threat to the ongoing peace process and that it had broken the trust in the LTTE towards the Sri Lanka Army.

He said that the LTTE will not trust in the Sri Lanka Government if their confidence in the Army is broken.

He said before taking over as the Army Commander he was serving in the East where he held a good rapport with LTTE and its Eastern Commander Col. Ramesh in particular.

In an attempt to minimize the fallout of accusation levelled against the SLA intelligence of complicity in Karuna affair, Lt. Gen. Kottegoda said that in the future he would ensure that the individual personnel in the Army would be strictly prevented from acting on their own.

He further told that he does not know the whereabouts of the LTTE renegade leader Karuna.

Lt. Gen Kottegoda said that the Army was being trained in new combat methods to be better prepared to face adversaries.

 

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