Gota blows hot and cold – Mirihana white van saga

Sri Lankan Defence Ministry Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa (C) rides in a jeep with three forces commanders during a Victory Day parade rehearsal in Colombo on May 17, 2013.

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Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday said he was only quoting the government when he said the white van found in Mirihana belonged to the LTTE.
“I am only quoting the official statement of the government. How else would I know?  And I live in that area, they should be more careful,” said Rajapaksa.

On Monday (20) night three soldiers, one of whom had a pistol, were arrested by the Mirihana Police while travelling in a white van.
Minister Home Affairs, Joseph Michael Perera on Wednesday (22) stated that the white van in question was one of the many unregistered LTTE vans. The Army however denied this statement and said it was a vehicle registered under the army for the personal use of Major General Prasanna de Silva.

Sri Lankan Defence Ministry Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa (C) rides in a jeep with three forces commanders during a Victory Day parade rehearsal in Colombo on May 17, 2013.

Sri Lankan Defence Ministry Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa (C) rides in a jeep with three forces commanders during a Victory Day parade rehearsal in Colombo on May 17, 2013.

The former Defence Secretary had also stressed that this incident showed that there was a clear threat to his life. However when it was pointed out that the van belonged to the Army, Rajpaksa said, “If that is what they are saying, then it is fine”, he said.
He added, “They have to be more cautious with what they do and it should not happen again. I live in that road and we were naturally suspicious when such a van was apprehended. They should not be using former LTTE vans either”.

When asked if he was using this incident for political gain, he said, “I am not a politician. Somebody has made this mistake and they should rectify it and close the issue.”
Gotabaya Rajapaksa said he was startled by the ‘white van’ discovery because he believed that his life was still under threat from the, “LTTE, Muslim extremists and drug dealers.”

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