Rajapaksa conducts major reshuffle of Lankan military command

  • Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, Colombo
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  • Updated: Jul 12, 2009 07:44 IST
Less than two months after defeating the LTTE, President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Sunday carried out a major reshuffle of the country’s military command appointing new army and navy commanders.

Army chief General Sarath Fonseka was appointed the Chief of Defence staff. Replacing him as army chief will be Major General Jagath Jayasuriya.

Rear Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe was appointed the new Navy chief replacing Wasantha Karanagoda, who was named an advisor to the President, the President’s office said in a statement, adding that the new appointments would be effective from July 15.

Fonseka – who survived a suicide attack inside the Army headquarters in 2006 - and Karanagoda were at the forefront of the war against the LTTE in the last few years. It was Fonseka who was the first to formally announce the death of LTTE chief V Prabhakaan. Both were promoted within days Rajapaksa announced victory against the rebels.

In other changes, the Competent Authority for Internally Displaced Affairs Major General GA Chandrasiri was sworn in as Governor for the Northern Province by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Sunday morning. The region’s former Governor Dixon Dela resigned to take over as the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in the Maldives.

In another development, the United Nations agencies and international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) have observed a significant improvement in humanitarian access to IDP sites in the north, the defence ministry said.

While commending the improved facilities at camps for the displaced, the report noted a decreased military presence inside the camps.

According to the latest UNHCR report, the improved access has allowed more effective implementation of activities to enable a better living condition to the displaced persons. So far, around 4,300 displaced persons, mostly elderly and sick, have been released and the government has announced that another 9,000 have been cleared for release.

 

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