President Maithripala Sirisena’s cavalier statement that the top-brass of the previous government fled the country during the last days of war has unexpectedly implicated him in the war crimes issue.
Sirisena, while speaking to the Sri Lankan community on Thursday, said he gave orders to military forces during the last two weeks of war as former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, former Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickremanayake, former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka left the country due to ‘explosion fears’.
He said all of them left the country during the last two weeks as they sensed a plan by the LTTE to launch terrorist attacks on Colombo using light aircrafts operated from South India.
Sirisena pompously said it was him, as the acting Minister Defence back then, of who knew everything about what happened during the last days of war.
This statement has now implicated Sirisena in the war crimes controversy as serious questions still remain unanswered on atrocities committed by the armed forces during the last days of war during which scores of Tamil militants were killed.
Sirisena’s foolish bravado, has plunged himself to the centre of a controversy that that contributed to increased international pressure on the Sri Lankan government.
“As Sirisena has now implicated himself in the matter, he should be questioned on the atrocities committed against civilians and prisoners of war. His name should be added to the long list of possible perpetrators including Mahinda Rajapaksa, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sarath Fonseka and other brigade commanders who led the Army when they committed such atrocities ” a prominent human rights activist told Colombo Telegraph, commenting on the development.