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Government Gazette

Defence Secretary pays tribute to valiant soldiers in Mannar, Wanni

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, military heavyweights, Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Donald Perera, Army Commander Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka and senior Army officers yesterday extended their greetings and plaudits to advancing ground troops in Mannar and Vavuniya for their string of military successes.

These sentiments were conveyed to 58 Division Commanders and other Wanni based Commanders during meetings the visiting team had in Mannar and Vavuniya.

Yesterday’s, tour to Mannar area by this top-level defence official and military chiefs as the first leg of the tour was also meant to promote the morale of the ground troops fighting the terror outfit and map out future strategies to continue their forward march to salvage Tamil civilians in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts while bringing peace to the north.

The Defence Secretary and military chiefs on arrival in Mannar were received by Brigadier Channa Gunatillake, Commander, Mannar Area Headquarters and the livewire behind ongoing Mannar north operations (Task Force 1), Brigadier Shavindra Silva who afterwards briefed on the status quo of the continuing humanitarian operations to the visiting team.

Defence Secretary Rajapaksa hailing the valiant troops in the area during the brief meeting with Division, Brigade and unit Commanders in the 58 Division office, wanted all ground Commanders to extend his appreciation and warm greetings to troops and their Commanders engaged in operations.

Rajapaksa, giving a patient hearing to the ground Commanders encouraged them to further boost the soldiers’ morale and plan future operations accordingly to wrest control of uncleared areas eliminating terrorism from the two provinces.

Rajapaksa also touched on the question of resettlement of civilians arriving in cleared areas following LTTE threats and a few other related issues.

Air Chief Marshal Donald Perera, Army Commander Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka, Brigadier Shavindra Silva and several other senior officers participated in the discussions at the 58 Division office.

Rajapaksa and the military duo later flew to Security Forces Headquarters Wanni (SFHQ-W) in Vavuniya where Major General Jagath Jayasuriya, Commander, (SFHQ-W) briefed them on current security developments in the whole of Wanni.

Defence Secretary Rajapaksa addressing all Divisional Commanders evaluated the progress of continuing humanitarian operations and paid tribute to all ground Commanders and soldiers for their achievements in the North of Welioya and elsewhere.

Since the operations are reaching a very decisive phase, he reminded, that concerted efforts should be made to liberate trapped civilians living under LTTE diktats.

Giving his concern over exodus of masses into cleared areas, Rajapaksa pointed out the importance of resettling them in a proper manner without letting them fall prey to isolated Tiger elements that might infiltrate those areas.


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