Apr 30, 2017

Army shocked by its chief’s report into Salawa camp blast Featured

The Army is shocked by its commander Lt. Gen. Krishantha de Silva’s order on April 18 to clear senior officers friendly with him and punish several juniors in connection with the blast at the Salawa Army camp in Kosgama, according to reports reaching Sri Lanka Mirror.

De Silva has received a report of inquiry by the investigation board appointed by the defence ministry into the 05 June 2016 incident.

The report has not given an exact cause for the blast, while the government analysts or the CID is yet to make their findings official.

3 sent on compulsory leave

The commander has ordered that three senior officers – Brig. W.D. Mahanama, Col. Manjula Wijesinghe and Lt. Col. A.P.S. Vaas de Gunawardena – be sent on compulsory leave and five juniors, including a major, be produced before a military tribunal.

kenneth channaHe has blamed major generals Channa Gunatilake, Kenneth Edema and Brig. Bimal Dias for the blast, but all three are now retired and no action can be taken against them as per the military law.

De Silva has instructed that an adverse event report each be included in their personal files.

He has also ordered punishment for captains Dasssanayake, Jayasinghe and Nishantha for failure to deploy soldiers to extinguish theheader img fire, although it is the duty of the security forces headquarters of the area to ensure safety and normal civilian life in a given area.

sudanthaThe Salawa camp comes under the security forces headquarters at Panagoda, whose commanding officer Sudantha Ranasinghe has never visited the camp, which is located less than 20 km away, to order required security measures.

However, Lt. Gen. de Silva has not mentioned his Engineering Corps colleague in his report.

Blamed passed to junior officers

The commander has passed the blame to junior officers for not taking action after the blast, while failing even to mention the seniors who should have taken the measures to prevent the incident from happening in the first place.

After being appointed the commander, he has never visited the Army’s main arms and ammunition depots, at Veyangoda, Kosgama and Welisara.

Defence ministry officials say de Silva and Ranasinghe, both from the Engineering Corps, could have averted this disaster had they toured the depots at least once.

Even after the incident, de Silva was given a service extension and expects another after August.

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