New Jaffna commander arriving today

[TamilNet, Friday, 14 November 1997, 23:59 GMT]
Major General Lionel Balagalla will formally take over duties as security forces commander of the Jaffna peninsula today. He was earlier in charge of Div.51 which controls part of the Waligamam sector of the Jaffna peninsula.

During Eelam War One he was the Director of Military Intelligence.

Following the ceremony, he will attend a special pooja at a temple reconstructed by the army following Riviresa One.

Sources in Jaffna said that Maj. Gen. Balagalle's decision to mark his taking over of duties as Jaffna commander by visiting this particular temple is quite significant.

According to unconfirmed reports, shortly after the conclusion of Operation Riviresa 1, heavy fighting had taken place in the area and a large number of LTTE fighters killed in the vicinity of the temple when the army had moved into the area with heavy armour.

The temple (which is called Sanganai east Velvil Iluppaithazh Murukamoorthy Kovil) had been partially destroyed, and sources say this may have happened in this fighting. It was recently rebuilt with special funds allocated by the authorities.

The General may have chosen this temple to remind the Jaffna populace that the SLA was 'in charge' now, say the sources.


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