The remains of the two Sri Lankan Peacekeepers, Major H.W.D Jayawickrama and Sergeant S.S Wijekumara, who were killed in Mali, would not be flown down to Sri Lanka on Saturday as earlier scheduled, the Army announced yesterday.
Army Spokesman Brigadier Sumith Atapattu said the process had been delayed due to flight delays. He said the flights carrying the remains of the two Peacekeepers, who were promoted posthumously from Captain and Corporal to their present ranks, would hopefully arrive on Monday instead of Saturday.
The Army earlier said the UN flag-draped coffins, which are expected to reach the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) today (2), would be accompanied by the MINUSMA (The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali is a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali.) Force Commander, Lt. Gen. Dennis Gyllisporre with three more UN Officers of his office.
The remains would then be formally delivered to Army Commander Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake in a military parade at an event also graced by Maj. Gen. Devinda Perera, UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka Ms. Hanaa Singer, Colonels of Regiments of the Sri Lanka Light Infantry and Mechanized Infantry Regiments, Senior Officers and the spouses and relatives of both the deceased.
After the Sri Lankan National Flags drape the coffins, vigilant troops in the ceremonial parade would hand the UN flag back to the visiting MINUSMA Force Commander, Lt. Gen. Dennis Gyllisporre before the simple parade and the remains will then be sent to the Negombo Hospital for a postmortem examination, the Army said.
Military funerals for both fallen UN Peacekeepers would take place at their respective home towns, Polonnaruwa and Polpithigama. (Darshana Sanjeewa)