New SLA promotions

[TamilNet, Saturday, 03 April 1999, 17:01 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) promoted five of its senior officers this week. The Vanni Security Forces Commander Major General Lionel Balagalle will be appointed the chief of staff of the army this week said Sri Lankan government sources today.

Maj.Gen.Balagalle was formerly the security forces commander of Jaffna. He was a founder of the military intelligence regiment of the SLA. He remains a regimental commander of military intelligence. Maj.Gen.Balagalle served as Brigade commander of Vavuniya before being promoted as the security forces commander of Jaffna. He is from the artillery regiment and is an old boy of Ananda College in Colombo.

Brig. P.S.B Kulatunga (younger brother Maj.Gen. Gemunu Kulatunga, Deputy Chief of Staff in 1996) who was deputy GOC of 54 division in Kilinochchi-Paranthan will be promoted as the director of General Services. He was earlier Commander of the 22 brigade in Trincomalee. (currently known as 22-1 brigade) and later the Director of Training HQ in 1997. Brig. Kulatunga is an old boy of Royal college in Colombo and his parent regiment is the Gemunu Watch.

Maj.Gen. Neil Dias will be made the Commandant of the Volunteer Force of the SLA. He is from the 4th field artillery regiment which he commanded in 1988 when the regiment celebrated its centenary. Later he was the Commander of the 51 division when the army took control of Jaffna. He was then sent to India for a course at the National Defence College (NDC). He was made the GOC of the 53 special forces division on his return. Then he was made the director general of staff.

Maj.Gen. Neil Dias is an old boy of Dharmapala College in Pannipitiya. He belonged to Intake 42 of the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst along with Major. Udena Gunawardana who is now working for 'Ole Springs', the marketing agent for Pepsi in Sri Lanka, Maj.Gen. Devinda Kalupahana who is now a general manager at the metropolitan group of companies and Maj.Gen. Janaka Perera.

Maj.Gen. Janaka Perera will be made the Deputy Chief of Staff next week. He is from the field engineers regiment. In 1980 he was one of the four officers who were hand picked to form the SLA's first commando regiment. Lt.Col. S.D Pieris, Maj.Percy Fernando (air mobile brigade commander) Maj. Gamini Hettiaraachi were the others.

He was the Commander of the Independent brigade (Special Forces) and he was the Brigade commander in Weli Oya. Later Maj.Gen. Janaka Perera was made the Commander of 53 division during Operation Riviresa to take Jaffna. He then went to UK for an officer course at the Royal College of Defence Studies. Maj.Gen. Janaka Perera was appointed the GOC of 23 on his return from UK. He is an old boy of St. Joseph's college in Colombo. He is a parachutist and a trained maroon beret.

Military spokesman Brig.Sunil Tennekoon has been put in charge of the Ministerial Security Division. Sources at the SLA HQ said that he will continue as the spokesman despite his new appointment. Brig.Sunil Tennekoon was also with the military intelligence formerly.

 

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