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Be loyal to nation not individuals: SL Army chief tells forces

Sri Lanka's Army chief has asked the armed forces to be loyal to their organisation and not "individuals", in an apparent reference to his predecessor Gen Sarath Fonseka who is challenging incumbent Mahinda Rajapkasa in the presidential polls.

world Updated: Dec 14, 2009 16:26 IST

Sri Lanka's Army chief has asked the armed forces to be loyal to their organisation and not "individuals", in an apparent reference to his predecessor Gen Sarath Fonseka who is challenging incumbent Mahinda Rajapkasa in the presidential polls.

"There is no choosing your faithfulness between an individual and an organisation," Lt Gen Jagat Jayasuriya told senior army officers.

"In an institute as the Army and the services you cannot have different loyalties but you must always work with the interest of the organisation and the country first," he said, according to an army statement issued here today.

The statement was issued a day after Fonseka, in an interview, claimed that the surrendering LTTE leaders were killed on the orders of Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

Jayasuriya, who was speaking at the Defence Services Command and Staff College at Batalanda near here, said in three decades of fighting against the LTTE, the Army has lost a total of 842 officers besides another 19,044 men and women.

"Individuals will come and go but the organisation needs to function with equality and without a conflict in loyalties," he said on Friday, adding this can make or break an organisation and is very detrimental to a fighting Army.

On the political connotations of the presidential polls, he said the Army is vulnerable to "at this juncture attack upon loyalty".