Newly-appointed Army Commander Mahesh Senanayake, who fled the country in 2010 while in service citing political reasons and re-joined the army in 2015 said yesterday he was ‘not a victim of politics but a victim of circumstances’.
“I was clearly a victim of circumstances, but certainly not a victim of politics. I have never done politics in my life,” he told the media soon after assuming duties as the 22nd Army Commander.
Explaining the reason for fleeing the country, the Commander said, “I was advised by my lawyers to leave the country because of the political situation at that time, so I left.”
Commenting on the war crimes allegations against the officers and the soldiers, Lt. Gen. Senanayake said as an institution, the army would give its fullest cooperation to any investigations.
“I don’t know whether those accusing the army officers and soldiers have first-hand information about their allegations; whether they were there at that time or not, but if there are any investigations we will certainly support it to clear the name and reputation of the army,” he said.
The Army Commander said he hoped to get information from officers and soldiers, who were there during the war as well as those who expert knowledge about the area and legal experts to gather more information about those allegations.
He said currently there were no internal investigations on those ‘war crimes’ allegations.
Commenting, on reports about a possible threat from the ISIS on Sri Lanka, the Commander said, “at the moment, no such threat has been brought to our notice”. He said that all tri-service personnel, the Police and the intelligence agencies of the country were capable of tackling any such issues.
The Commander said he had identified several areas in the army that should be addressed and rejected claims that the activities of the military intelligence unit had been curtailed in the recent past. “The military intelligence unit is operative functioning efficiently,” he added. (Sunil Jayasiri)
Pix by Pradeep Pathirana