SLA soldier arraigned on friendly fire killing released on bail

[TamilNet, Sunday, 14 May 2006, 18:46 GMT]
"I heard sounds of some one hiding behind bushes in front of my sentry point. I thought a LTTE cadre was hiding to attack us. I fired four times at the bush due to security reasons. But later I found the dead was my fellow soldier who had gone to bring food for me," said Lance Corporal Nimal Heart of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) at the magisterial inquest held Friday in Vavuniya Magistrate's Court into the killing of Lance Corporal Gamini Wasantha Dassanayake, legal sources said.

Lance Corporal Nimal Heart was produced as a suspect in the killing of a fellow soldier at about 11:45 a.m., Thursday.

Suspect said he and the deceased were from the same village Maho and both were friends. On the day of incident both were on duty at the forward defense line sentry point in Omanthai. The deceased left the sentry point to bring lunch packets for both. But he did not return to the sentry within the stipulated time. He heard sounds of some one moving behind the bushes located about 18 yards in front of the sentry.

He thought that a LTTE cadre was hiding behind the bush to attack the sentry. He then immediately fired four times towards the bushes. But he heard some one falling on the ground shouting in pain. He came to know later that he was his fellow soldier who had gone to bring lunch packets.

The suspect broke down while telling the court that he was forced to fire at the bush without knowing that his fellow soldier had lost his track and had come through the bush, legal sources said.

The Magistrate allowed the suspect soldier on personal bail for Rs 3000 and ordered him to appear in court on Monday, legal sources said.


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